First Advisor

Mohammad Aslam Khan Khalil

Date of Publication

Winter 3-20-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Physics






Atmospheric methane -- Measurement, Methane -- Environmental aspects, Black cottonwood| -- Effect of global warming on -- Northwest, Pacific.



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 89 pages) : illustrations (some color)


Although the dynamics of methane (CH4) emission from croplands and wetlands have been fairly well investigated, the contribution of trees to global methane emission and the mechanisms of tree transport are relatively unknown. Methane emissions from the common wetland tree species Populus trichocarpa (black cottonwood) native to the Pacific Northwest were measured under hydroponic conditions in order to separate plant transport mechanisms from the influence of soil processes. Roots were exposed to methane enriched water and canopy emissions of methane were measured using a canopy enclosure. Methane accumulation in the canopy was generally linear and the average canopy methane flux was 3.0 ± 2.6 μg CH4 min-1. Flux magnitudes from stem experiments scaled to the area of the main tree stem are comparable to whole-canopy flux values, indicating that the majority of methane emitted from the tree leaves through the stem. Samples for stable carbon isotope composition were taken during the canopy experiments. Compared to the isotopic composition of root water methane, canopy methane was depleted in 13C on average by 8.6 ± 3.3 permil; this indicates that methane moving through the tree is not following a purely bulk flow pathway (where no depletion would occur), but is instead subject to at least one fractionating mechanism. When temperature was varied, the flux at the coolest temperature was significantly different from the higher flux at the warmest temperature (p-value less than 0.02). The calculated Q10 for methane flux was 2.4, which indicates a positive feedback with temperature increase. Analysis of δ13C values of emitted CH4 in the temperature experiments shows increasing depletion with cooler temperatures and lower flux. This indicates that not only does the magnitude of flux vary with temperature, but the actual dominant transport mechanism changes as well.


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