The importance of termites to the CH4 balance of a tropical savanna woodland of northern Australia

Jamali, H, Livesley, S, Grover, S, Z, D, Hutley, L, Cook, G and Arndt, S 2011, 'The importance of termites to the CH4 balance of a tropical savanna woodland of northern Australia', Ecosystems, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 698-709.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title The importance of termites to the CH4 balance of a tropical savanna woodland of northern Australia
Author(s) Jamali, H
Livesley, S
Grover, S
Z, D
Hutley, L
Cook, G
Arndt, S
Year 2011
Journal name Ecosystems
Volume number 14
Issue number 5
Start page 698
End page 709
Total pages 12
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Abstract Termites produce methane (CH 4 ) as a by-product of microbial metabolism of food in their hindguts, and are one of the most uncertain components of the regional and global CH 4 exchange estimates. This study was conducted at Howard Springs near Darwin, and presents the first estimate of CH 4 emissions from termites based on replicated in situ seasonal flux measurements in Australian savannas. Using measured fluxes of CH 4 between termite mounds and the atmosphere, and between soil and the atmosphere across seasons we determined net CH 4 flux within a tropical savanna woodland of northern Australia. By accounting for both mound-building and subterranean termite colony types, and estimating the contribution from tree-dwelling colonies it was calculated that termites were a CH 4 source of +0.24 kg CH 4 -C ha -1 y -1 and soils were a CH 4 sink of -1.14 kg CH 4 -C ha -1 y -1 . Termites offset 21% of CH 4 consumed by soil resulting in net sink strength of -0.90 kg CH 4 -C ha -1 y -1 for these savannas. For Microcerotermes nervosus (Hill), the most abundant mound-building termite species at this site, mound basal area explained 48% of the variation in mound CH 4 flux. CH 4 emissions from termites offset 0.1% of the net biome productivity (NBP) and CH 4 consumption by soil adds 0.5% to the NBP of these tropical savannas at Howard Springs. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Subject Soil Sciences not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) hypogeal termites
methane
Microcerotermes nervosus
soil methane oxidation
subterranean termites
termite mounds
DOI - identifier 10.1007/s10021-011-9439-5
Copyright notice © 2011 Springer Science & Business Media
ISSN 1432-9840
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