EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Unravelling controls on methane uptake in a temperate forest soil: impacts of ectomycorrhizas

Sylvia Toet1, Ruochan Ma1, Phoebe Morton2, and Phil Ineson3
Sylvia Toet et al.
  • 1Department of Environment and Geography, York, UK (
  • 2School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK (
  • 3Department of Biology, University of York, UK (

Methane (CH4) is an important greenhouse gas, globally responsible for 17% of current radiative forcing. Soils can be important net sources or sinks of CH4 depending on the net balance of two contrasting microbial processes - CH4 production and CH4 oxidation. In unsaturated soils, the aerobic methane oxidation process often dominates. These soils form the only global terrestrial CH4 sink, but estimates are still highly uncertain, both spatially and temporally. Forest soils have shown some of the strongest net CH4 uptake rates, but this is not consistent across sites and the controls are poorly understood.

In this field study, we focused on the effects of ectomycorrhizas on net CH4 uptake in an unsaturated, sandy gley podzolic soil of a mature coniferous forest stand dominated by Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) in Northern England over three years. Methane fluxes were determined in cores with soil only (roots and ectomycorrhizal mycelium excluded using windows with 1 µm mesh in the cores) and cores with soil and ectomycorrhizal mycelium (only roots excluded with 41 µm mesh). Net CH4 uptake rates in summer were higher when ectomycorrhizal mycelium was present, whereas the opposite was observed in winter. We will discuss mechanisms that may underpin these ectomycorrhizal impacts on net CH4 uptake in unsaturated forest soils.

How to cite: Toet, S., Ma, R., Morton, P., and Ineson, P.: Unravelling controls on methane uptake in a temperate forest soil: impacts of ectomycorrhizas, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-11704,, 2020


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displays version 1 – uploaded on 08 May 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-11704, Nicholas Nickerson, 08 May 2020

    Hi Sylvia. Great presentation and thanks for taking the time to record. I dont have a lot of comments on the bilogy of the system, but I do wonder that the impact of lateral diffusion (either into or out of) the mesh system has on the measured fluxes. For the two treatments do the meshed windows have the same surface area open to the surrounding soil? Do you know of any papers that look at this lateral gas transport impact?

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Sylvia Toet, 08 May 2020

      Hi Nick, Good to hear from you. I hope  you and Eosense are keeping well. The windows in the collars are equal in size for the two treatments and at the same depth, the windows with mesh are all below the soil surface, so these collars are I guess relatively comparable to shallow seated collars.
      Are you familiar with Kelly Redeker et al. (2015) Biogeosciences 12: 7423-7434, which deals with laterail gas flux movement and effects of wind?  Hope to catch up at some point? Best wishes, Sylvia

      • CC2: Reply to AC1, Nicholas Nickerson, 08 May 2020

        Thanks Sylvia. That paper is for sure helpful. I hope to see the setup one day when we can finally travel back to the UK!