Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Oceanography

Specialization

Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry

Department

Oceanography

First Advisor

Brice Loose

Abstract

Wetlands and estuaries are strong sources of methane to the atmosphere due to high rates of methanogenesis. These environments contain diverse and extensive microbial communities that are responsible for processing organic matter, with tidal flow responsible for exchange between marine, freshwater, and estuarine sources. While most methane is produced in sediment, as methanogenic Archaea generally require anoxic conditions, methane oxidizing bacteria (methanotrophs) regulate emissions in oxygenated waters through the consumption of methane. Therefore, flood tide has the potential to provide wetlands – salt marshes, in particular – with organic matter and methanotrophic communities, creating a unique environment which features the co-occurrence of both methanogenesis and methanotrophy. Ebb tide would then be responsible for the transport of methane and potentially microbial communities to nearby waters. There has been limited research investigating the importance of salt marshes to marine methane cycling.

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