A closed-chamber method to measure greenhouse gas fluxes from dry aquatic sediments
Abstract. Recent research indicates that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from dry aquatic sediments are a relevant process in the freshwater carbon cycle. However, fluxes are difficult to measure because of the often rocky substrate and the dynamic nature of the habitat. Here we tested the performance of different materials to seal a closed chamber to stony ground both in laboratory and field experiments. Using on-site material consistently resulted in elevated fluxes. The artefact was caused both by outgassing of the material and production of gas. The magnitude of the artefact was site dependent – the measured CO2 flux increased between 10 and 208 %. Errors due to incomplete sealing proved to be more severe than errors due to non-inert sealing material.
Pottery clay as sealing material provided a tight seal between the chamber and the ground and no production of gases was detected. With this approach it is possible to get reliable gas fluxes from hard-substrate sites without using a permanent collar. Our test experiments confirmed that CO2 fluxes from dry aquatic sediments are similar to CO2 fluxes from terrestrial soils.