Navigation Links
Rivers are carbon processors, not inert pipelines
Date:12/1/2008

Microorganisms in rivers and streams play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle that has not previously been considered. Freshwater ecologist Dr. Tom Battin, of the University of Vienna, told a COST ESF Frontiers of Science conference in October that our understanding of how rivers and streams deal with organic carbon has changed radically.

Microorganisms such as bacteria and single celled algae in rivers and streams decompose organic matter as it flows downstream. They convert the carbon it contains into carbon dioxide, which is then released to the atmosphere.

Recent estimates by Battin's team and others conclude there is a net flux, or outgassing, of carbon dioxide from the world's rivers and streams to the atmosphere of at least two-thirds to three-quarters of a gigatonne (Gt) of carbon per year. This flux has not been taken into account in the models of the global carbon cycle used to predict climate change.

"Surface water drainage networks perfuse and integrate the landscape, across the whole planet," says Battin, "but they are missing from all global carbon cycling, even from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports. Rivers are just considered as inert pipelines, receiving organic carbon from Earth and transporting it to the ocean." This thinking, according to Battin, has changed radically in last few years.

He argues that the latest estimates of how much carbon is transferred to the atmosphere from rivers and streams are very conservative. "The actual outgassing of carbon dioxide is probably closer to 2 Gt of carbon per year," says Battin. "Our surface area estimates only consider larger streams and rivers, because it is very hard to estimate accurately the surface area of small streams. So small streams are excluded, although in terms of microbial activity, they are the most reactive in the network."

Two gigatonnes of carbon per year is close to half the estimated net primary production of the world's vegetation each year. Realising that this quantity of carbon may be delivered straight back to the atmosphere, rather than being taken to the ocean where some of it is removed by marine organisms and ends up in sediment, could have profound consequences for our understanding of the system.

In a disturbing development, Battin's team lab has recently found that engineered nanoparticles can significantly compromise the freshwater microbes involved in carbon cycling. "This finding is a real challenge to science," says Battin. "Engineered nanoparticles such as titanium dioxide are expected to increase in the environment, but it remains completely unknown how they might affect the functioning of ecosystems."


'/>"/>

Contact: Tom Battin
tom.battin@univie.ac.at
43-142-775-4350
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UC Riverside biologist receives prestigious MacArthur Fellowship
2. UC-Riverside partners with Chinese university to address Chinas environmental problems
3. Scientists from the UGR prove that rivers do not act as barriers for groundwater flow
4. Chemicals used as fire retardants could be harmful, UC-Riverside researchers say
5. Studying rivers for clues to global carbon cycle
6. Healthy rivers needed to remove nitrogen
7. ORNL study finds rivers play part in removing nitrogen
8. UC Riverside to host conference on stricter air quality standards for Southern California
9. UC Riverside bioengineer receives high honor from chemical engineers
10. The drivers of tropical deforestation are changing, say scientists
11. Tahitian vanilla originated in Maya forests, says UC Riverside botanist
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/13/2016)... 13, 2016 --> ... new market report titled - Biometric Sensors Market - Global ... - 2023. According to the report, the global biometric sensors market was ... to reach US$1,625.8 mn by 2023, expanding at a ... of volume, the biometric sensors market is expected to ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... 11, 2016 Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA ... announced that its ClearPad ® TouchView ™ ... two separate categories in the 8 th Annual ... Technology Breakthrough. The Synaptics ® TDDI solution enables ... chain, thinner devices, brighter displays and borderless designs. ...
(Date:1/8/2016)... MANCHESTER, United Kingdom , Jan. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... sensor-based diagnostic products, today announced the closing of a $9 ... investors.  Proceeds from the financing will be used to accelerate ... device for detecting early-stage pressure ulcers. ... after receiving CE Mark approval. The device,s introduction has been ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/3/2016)... Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) , ... February 03, 2016 ... ... to hospitals, has established a new office dedicated to the North American healthcare ... provide turnkey solutions to healthcare facilities. The company will provide new pneumatic ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , ... February 03, 2016 , ... ... annual report which summarizes and analyzes nearly 750 unique supply chain ... alert, and analysis service. , Supply chain risk management practitioners subscribe to ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... 03, 2016 , ... ZeptoMetrix™ Corporation (ZMC), announced today the ... quality control of molecular assays targeting the Zika Virus. , “Our level of ... President and CEO of ZeptoMetrix, relayed to his Executive Team. “We need to ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 03, 2016 , ... Big games ... who have sacrificed so much for our country. CereScan, a nationally recognized brain diagnostics ... The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) vs. NFL Stars Flag Football Game on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: