Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014DE269B

Understanding Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Estuaries

Institute: Delaware
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-06-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $1,500 Total Non-Federal Funds: $2,775

Principal Investigators: Angelia Seyfferth, Rodrigo Vargas

Abstract: Estuaries are important ecosystems that serve as a buffer between land and ocean, but are threatened by both natural and human-induced changes. These ecosystems represent the interaction between land and oceans where organic carbon and nutrients are processed, resulting in potentially high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The emission of GHGs such as CO2, N2O, and CH4 arise due to biogeochemical processes occurring in the sediment profile, and may be regulated by the redox state and chemical/mineralogical composition of the sediments. Moreover, the GHG flux out of estuaries may change with seasons, and thus it is important to link GHG with sediment biogeochemistry through time in order to determine the potential for estuaries to act as a sink or source of GHGs to the atmosphere. This project will involve the measurements of various physicochemical properties in the St. Jones Reserve, an estuary near Dover, DE. The findings will be used to study the plant-soil-atmosphere interactions within the ecosystem in order to understand the processes that control GHG fluxes in the estuary. The goal of this project is to understand the sediment biogeochemical processes that drive greenhouse gas flux out of or storage within the estuary.