Burping Ponds: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Crow Pond and Implications for Fish Habitat

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rebecca North
Institution and/or Affiliation: University of Missouri

Project Description: 

This innovative proposal directly aligns with the long-term goals of PFCA through the development of an outdoor aquatic laboratory that advances science and engages undergraduate and graduate students in active learning. This proposal is an excellent fit for the mission of PFCA; specifically, to provide educational experiences related to fisheries, wildlife, and environmental conservation for all citizens, with particular emphasis on undergraduate research. It also informs the restoration and maintenance of natural aquatic communities and their processes and functions while developing techniques that promote both wise use and sustainability of our natural aquatic resources. The renewal of aquatic research at PFCA would ensure the implementation of the above objectives and provide students cross-disciplinary experiences in research and educational programs. The natural preserved and restored prairie landscape at PFCA makes it the ideal location to identify baseline conditions related to organic matter decomposition and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We need to establish realistic rates of GHG emissions from aquatic sediments in natural systems in order to develop an understanding of how changing land use and climatic conditions are impacting emission rates. The conditions conducive to the production of GHGs in the bottom of ponds also have implications for fish habitat and health. Low oxygen conditions as a result of decomposition of organic matter, combined with warming water temperatures, can restrict fish habitat to the upper waters, facilitating a “fish squeeze”. The results of this project could be used to assess the risks to fish health in Crow Pond.

Final Report: Burping ponds: greenhouse gas emissions from Crow Pond and implications for fish habitat, funded from 2019–2021. This project supported two undergraduate thesis students (Jannice Newson and Jaylen Bragg) who have published their thesis work (see Associated Products) and graduated from Mizzou. This project also supported a MS graduate student (Emily Kinzinger) who served as the TA for the Linked Undergraduate Experiments on Nutrients (LUGNuts) program and is graduating this summer. The objectives of this project were to quantify GreenHouse Gas (GHG) ebullition rates in ponds across a range of sediment organic matter content, water temperature, and land use. This comparative approach included Crow Pond, located at the PFCA. My colleagues (Casson, N.J., Venkiteswaran, J.J., Whitfield, C.J.) and I have written a manuscript based on this work, which is led by one of the 2018 LUGNuts undergraduate (UG) students from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada (Baron, A.A.P). All of the UG students (Dyck, L.T., Amjad, H., Bragg*,J., Kroft, E., Newson*, J., Oleson, K.) have been included as co-authors on the paper and in all cases, this will be their first published manuscript and will launch their graduate careers. We have submitted the appended manuscript “The importance of multiple drivers of ebullitive methane release from small, shallow ponds” to the journal Science of the Total Environment (Impact Factor= 6.551). It was reviewed by two experts in the field, who have recommended revisions prior to acceptance. We are working on the revisions now, and plan to resubmit in June. We are hopeful that at this point, the manuscript will be accepted. The appended submitted manuscript and supplemental information (SI) serves as my report of the data collected via this project. The site “MU5” is Crow Pond. I will send along the final version of the published paper once it has been accepted by the journal.