Alyssa Menzel, Andy Angle, Dan Guarracino
After recording all of the data from our field books and receiving the first batch of methane data back from the lab, we were able to start calculating the methane flux of the bofadales sampled in Peru this past May. To do the calculations, we first had to measure the volume of the methane chambers used to capture the methane in Peru. Then, we used this volume to calculate the amount of methane released from the bofadale over the period of time that we were sampling. We are still awaiting the second half of methane data currently being tested in the lab.
We will use the calculated methane flux to develop a ratio of methane released from the wetland to carbon stored in the wetland. This ratio will determine the net carbon of the bofadale. If the amount of carbon being stored is greater than the amount of carbon from methane being released, the bofadale would be a net carbon sink. This classification is important in determining the future of these biodiverse ecosystems and how they can be protected. If the bofadales are classified as carbon sinks, they need to be protected from being destroyed from mining or development. Additionally, we are using water isotope data to determine if the bofadales are solely supported by glacial melt water. If this is the case, as the glacier recedes, the bofadales will dry out and release the stored carbon into the atmosphere, thus contributing to anthropogenic climate change.