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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

Our research on the ecology, hydrology and biogeochemistry of Amazon wetlands with microwave and optical remote sensing and in the field have addressed important aspects of the regional carbon dynamics of the Amazon basin including calculations of evasion of methane and carbon dioxide from rivers and wetlands. We propose to integrate our multi-temporal, multi-scale analyses of inundation and aquatic vegetation dynamics with measurements and modeling of carbon dynamics of wetland systems throughout the Amazon with particular emphasis on the floodplains of the central basin. About 20% of the Amazon basin is seasonally inundated, and these wetlands are sites of intense biological activity that can have a strong influence on the regional carbon dynamics. Understanding the effects of these dynamics on air-water exchanges of CO2 and CH4 is of critical importance if we are to estimate the net contribution of Amazon wetlands to greenhouse gas emissions. To quantify this influence it will be necessary to improve estimates of the fluxes and balance of carbon, incorporating the principal sources of spatial and temporal variability and developing numerical models to simulate and integrate their effects. Hence, we propose to study the organic carbon dynamics and its influence on the net emissions of CO2 and CH4 on central Amazon floodplains. We propose to examine three unresolved issues: 1. The role of aquatic herbaceous macrophytes and litterfall from flooded forests as sources of organic carbon fueling the outgassing of carbon dioxide and methane from wetlands and rivers. 2. The regional, seasonal and interannual variations in evasion of methane and carbon dioxide. 3. The inundation dynamics of floodplains on multiple scales as a physical template for biogeochemical processes.

Project PI: John Melack/University of California

Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9620

Phone: (805) 893-3879

Fax: (805) 893-4724

Email: melack@lifesci.ucsb.edu

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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010

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