June 30, 2015

New study reveals mechanism regulating methane emissions in freshwater wetlands

(June 30, 2015)  Though they occupy a small fraction of the Earth's surface, freshwater wetlands are the largest natural source of methane going into the atmosphere. New research from the University of Georgia identifies an unexpected process that acts as a key gatekeeper regulating methane emissions from these freshwater environments.

The study, published in Nature Communications by Samantha Joye and colleagues, describes how high rates of anaerobic methane oxidation, a process once considered insignificant in these environments, substantially reduce atmospheric emissions of methane from freshwater wetlands.

While anaerobic methane oxidation in freshwaters has been gathering scientific attention, the environmental relevance of this process was unknown.

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