Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014DE262B

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Sediments in a Protected Estuary in Delaware

Institute: Delaware
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-06-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $3,500 Total Non-Federal Funds: $6,402

Principal Investigators: Rodrigo Vargas, Rodrigo Vargas

Abstract: Estuaries are among the worlds most biologically rich and economically important ecosystems, but also they are vulnerable as they are threatened by the front lines of natural and human-induced change (e.g., sea-level rise, land-use change, nutrient runoff from agricultural lands). Estuaries represent the focal interaction point between land and oceans where organic carbon and nutrients are processed, resulting in high carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Furthermore, global environmental change will include an increase on global surface temperatures and changes in precipitation variability that will creates feedbacks in the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) from soils and sediments. Changes in soil water content and soil temperature regulate the rates of GHG fluxes. This study will focus on characterizing carbon dioxide and methane emissions from sediments in the St. Jones Reserve Estuary, to determine the environmental and sediment properties that affect the extent and timing of greenhouse gas release from sediment to atmosphere.