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Keywords:

  • ecosystem respiration;
  • Eriophorum;
  • methane;
  • mires;
  • peatlands;
  • Sphagnum;
  • tropospheric ozone

Abstract

Although the effects of elevated ozone on aboveground carbon (C) assimilation are well understood, its effects on soil C fluxes are less certain. Mesocosms taken from a lowland raised bog in northern England were exposed in open-top chambers for 2 years to ambient air or ambient air plus ozone elevated for 8 h day−1 by an average of 49 ppb in summer and 10 ppb in winter. The effects of elevated ozone on methane emission and ecosystem dark respiration were measured throughout this period, along with soil and plant variables. Methane emissions were significantly reduced, by about 25%, by elevated ozone during midsummer periods of both years, but no significant effect of ozone was found during the winter periods. Dark ecosystem respiration was not significantly affected by elevated ozone. There was no evidence that effects of elevated ozone on methane emissions were mediated through changes in aboveground plant biomass or soil water dissolved organic C concentrations. Our results imply that the increased northern hemisphere background ozone concentrations over the 21st century that are predicted by most models may reduce the rate of increase in methane emissions as the region warms.