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Greenhouse Gas Fluxes for Greater Everglades Wetlands: Eddy-Covariance Flux Tower Measurements

Project Chief: Barclay Shoemaker
Cllaboration: Priority Ecosystem Science
Period of Project: FY 2012 - current

Problem Statement

Diagram of airflow across wetlands

Diagram of airflow across wetlands

Storage of carbon in wetlands environments can be important in mitigating the adverse impacts of anthropogenic atmospheric greenhouse gases on global climate, and can serve to maintain or enhance topography under the threat of rising sea levels. However, little data exists on exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and south Florida wetland landscapes. Specifically, the quantity of carbon dioxide and methane absorbed or released annually within subtropical forests and wetlands as well as carbon and energy cycling in response to changes in hydrology, salinity, nutrient loading, forest-fires and other factors are poorly known. This study will use existing, permanent, eddy-covariance flux stations in the Big Cypress National Preserve to collect atmospheric/land carbon exchange data. These data can be used to help define and predict Everglades ecosystem response to environmental change at the regional (e.g. freshwater discharge) and global (e.g. air temperature and sea-level rise) scale.


The objectives of the study are to:

(1) measure exchanges of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) between the atmosphere and diverse landscapes in the Florida Everglades;

2) relate measured/estimated rates of carbon dioxide net ecosystem exchange (NEE) , gross ecosystem production (GEP), ecosystem respiration (R), and methane releases from the landscape to environmental controls including available water and energy, meteorological conditions, and plant canopy metrics;

3) disseminate data and results of the investigations to other Federal, State, and university researchers and continue on-going collaborations.

Close-up photograph of eddy covariance sensors

Close-up photograph of eddy covariance sensors


The study focuses on two science themes: (1) understanding and predicting ecosystem change; and (2) understanding climate variability. An important step to understanding critical ecosystems includes monitoring, assessment, and evaluation of trends using objective, scientifically-based methods. This water, energy and carbon cycling study will operate and maintain a network of eddy covariance flux towers that can be integrated with other data networks (such as Coastal Flow Monitoring) to address carbon cycling in the Everglades and evaluate the impacts of climate change. The flux tower network can accommodate new and emerging technologies, address relevant scientific inquiries, and support collaborative science between Federal, State, and university researchers..


[Results are not yet available].

Information Products

The study will release water, energy, and carbon cycling data and associated meta-data on the South Florida Information Access (SOFIA) website. Study results will be published in one or more peer-reviewed journals.

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