The proportional extent of peat on the Falkland Islands rivals that of any other country at around 4529 km2 or approximately 43% of the land area. The nature of land use, ranging from grazing and drainage through to peat cutting, is thought to have resulted in these peatlands becoming a carbon source, in the region of 1,149,326 t CO2e yr-1. However, no direct measurements of greenhouse gas emissions from Falkland peat has been published; therefore, it is unknown whether these peatlands continue to sequester carbon or are now net sources of emissions. This project will begin to quantify greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from these systems and determine the influence of land use on GHG fluxes. It will investigate the underlying drivers of these emissions through organic geochemical analysis and microbiological techniques before upscaling findings to the wider Falklands landscape.
- GHG flux - Maintain static chamber sites for GHG flux measurements over a minimum of a six month period. Combine these fluxes with meterological, edaphic and vegetation data to determine key drivers of CO2 and CH4 Establish key drivers of NEE in Falkland Peat and use Earth Observation to upscale findings
- Microbial community – Collect samples of microbial communities from across the Falklands, sequence and analyse these communities evaluating the richness and composition in peat at depth. Determine which parts of the community may be offering the greatest contribution to GHG flux
- Organic geochemistry – Analyse full depth peat cores using FTIR to establish the structure of organic matter within Falkland Island peat, determine how this changes with depth or between sites. Use supplementary analytical techniques to determine the contribution of plants to organic matter, the presence of respiration end products to determine key zones of microbial activity and carbon cycling
- Carbon stock - Contextualise gas flux data by carrying out wider surveys of the edaphic and vegetation conditions along with peat depth across the Falklands and under different grazing managements. Apply gas flux data to these sites to enable more accurate upscaling of results and understanding of total carbon stock.