Although wetlands are among the world's most productive ecosystems, little is known of long-term CO2 exchange in tropical and subtropical wetlands. The Everglades is a highly managed wetlands complex occupying >6000 km2 in south Florida. This ecosystem is oligotrophic, but extremely high rates of productivity have been previously reported. To evaluate CO2 exchange and its response to seasonality (dry vs. wet season) in the Everglades, an eddy covariance tower was established in a short-hydroperiod marl marsh. Rates of net ecosystem exchange and ecosystem respiration were small year-round and declined in the wet season relative to the dry season. Inundation reduced macrophyte CO2 uptake, substantially limiting gross ecosystem production. While light and air temperature exerted the primary controls on net ecosystem exchange and ecosystem respiration in the dry season, inundation weakened these relationships. The ecosystem shifted from a CO2 sink in the dry season to a CO2 source in the wet season; however, the marsh was a small carbon sink on an annual basis. Net ecosystem production, ecosystem respiration, and gross ecosystem production were −49.9, 446.1 and 496.0 g C m−2 year−1, respectively. Unexpectedly low CO2 flux rates and annual production distinguish the Everglades from many other wetlands. Nonetheless, impending changes in water management are likely to alter the CO2 balance of this wetland and may increase the source strength of these extensive short-hydroperiod wetlands.
Publisher Version: Schedlbauer, J., S. Oberbauer, G. Starr, K.L. Jimenez. 2010. Seasonal differences in the CO2 exchange of a short-hydroperiod Florida Everglades marsh. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 150(7-8): 994-1006.