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Greenhouse Gas From English Streams Adding To Global Warming, Expert Says

Date:
December 12, 2007
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
A common plant in English streams helps methane generated by bacteria in the sediment beneath the plants to escape into the atmosphere. The plant also causes a build-up of sediment from neighboring farmland, which aids the production of methane by bacteria in the stream.

English chalk streams are less healthy than we thought and are potentially even contributing to global warming, said Dr Mark Trimmer from Queen Mary, University of London.

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Dr Trimmer looked at a plant that covers up to three quarters of the surface of some streams and found that it helps methane generated in the sediment beneath the plants to escape into the atmosphere. "We found similar emissions to some UK peat bogs" said Dr Trimmer. "This changes our perception of the health of the ecosystem and it indicates another disadvantage of agriculture."

Over 90% of the methane emissions from the river Frome in Dorset that reach the atmosphere do so via the stems of water crowfoot. The plant also causes a build-up of sediment from neighbouring farmland, which aids the production of methane by bacteria in the stream.

"Chalk streams are a British specialty habitat and a priority under the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan. They have a high status but there is growing concern about their ecological decline."

Dr Trimmer estimates that the total area of chalk streams in the UK is around 20 km2. The situation he observed in Dorset is likely to be widespread. More research is needed to understand methane emissions from chalk streams fully. "There is obvious climatic concern for any unquantified potential source of methane."


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The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Greenhouse Gas From English Streams Adding To Global Warming, Expert Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071210103949.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2007, December 12). Greenhouse Gas From English Streams Adding To Global Warming, Expert Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071210103949.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Greenhouse Gas From English Streams Adding To Global Warming, Expert Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071210103949.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

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