Although freshwater wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth, little is known of carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange in low latitude wetlands. The Everglades is an extensive, oligotrophic wetland in south Florida characterized by short- and long-hydroperiod marshes. Chamber-based CO2 exchange measurements were made to compare the marshes and examine the roles of primary producers, seasonality, and environmental drivers in determining exchange rates. Low rates of CO2 exchange were observed in both marshes with net ecosystem production reaching maxima of 3.77 and 4.28 μmol CO2 m−2 s−1 in short- and long-hydroperiod marshes, respectively. Fluxes of CO2 were affected by seasonality only in the short-hydroperiod marsh, where flux rates were significantly lower in the wet season than in the dry season. Emergent macrophytes dominated fluxes at both sites, though this was not the case for the short-hydroperiod marsh in the wet season. Water depth, a factor partly under human control, significantly affected gross ecosystem production at the short-hydroperiod marsh. As Everglades ecosystem restoration proceeds, leading to deeper water and longer hydroperiods, productivity in short-hydroperiod marshes will likely be more negatively affected than in long-hydroperiod marshes. The Everglades stand in contrast to many freshwater wetlands because of ecosystem-wide low productivity rates.
Publisher version: Schedlbauer, J., J. Munyon, S. Oberbauer, E.E. Gaiser, G. Starr. 2012. Controls on ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange in short- and long-hydroperiod Florida Everglades freshwater marshes. Wetlands 32: 801-812.