Environmental and biological controls on methyl halide emissions from southern California coastal salt marshes

Rhew, RC, Miller BR, Bill M, Goldstein AH, Weiss RF.  2002.  Environmental and biological controls on methyl halide emissions from southern California coastal salt marshes. Biogeochemistry. 60:141-161.

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biosynthesis, bromide, chloride transferase, chloromethane, fungus phellinus-pomaceus, halomethanes, higher-plants, methyl bromide, methyl chloride, organic-compounds, pacific-ocean, salt marsh, tropical tropopause


Methyl bromide (CH3Br) and methyl chloride (CH3Cl) emission rates from southern California coastal salt marshes show large spatial and temporal variabilities that are strongly linked to biological and environmental factors. Here we discuss biogeochemical lines of evidence pointing to vegetation as the primary source of CH3Br and CH3Cl emissions from salt marshes. Sediments and macroalgae do not appear to be major producers of these compounds, based on observations that the highest fluxes are not inhibited by soil inundation; their emissions are not correlated with those of certain gases produced in soils; and emissions from mudflat- and macroalgae-dominated sites are relatively small. In contrast, the seasonal and spatial variabilities of methyl halide fluxes in these salt marshes are consistent with the production of these compounds by vascular plants, although the possibility of production by microflora or fungi associated with the salt marsh vegetation is not ruled out. Flux chamber measurements of emission rates are largely correlated to the overall plant biomass enclosed in the chamber, but appear also to be highly dependent on the predominant plant species. Emission rates follow a diurnal trend similar to the trends of ambient air temperature and photosynthetically active radiation, but not surface soil temperature. Diurnal variabilities in the carbon isotope compositions of CH3Cl and CH3Br and their relative ratios of emissions are consistent with simultaneously competing mechanisms of uptake and production.