Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 579–587 | Cite as

Spartina alterniflora invasion affects methane emissions in the Yangtze River estuary

  • Naishun Bu
  • Siqi Wu
  • Xiao Yang
  • Yuyang Sun
  • Zhonglin Chen
  • Xiping Ma
  • Youtao Song
  • Fang MaEmail author
  • Zhuojun YanEmail author
Soils, Sec 1 • Soil Organic Matter Dynamics and Nutrient Cycling • Research Article



Wetlands are the largest natural sources of atmospheric methane (CH4) and are often susceptible to plant invasion and hydrological fluctuations. However, the effect of plant invasion on wetland CH4 emissions is still controversial, and little is known about the variation of invasion-induced CH4 emissions under heterogeneous conditions.

Materials and methods

A pairwise experimental design between Spartina alterniflora (invasive plant) and Phragmites australis (native plant) stands in high elevation sites (H-sites) and S. alterniflora and Scirpus mariqueter (native plant) stands in low elevation sites (L-sites) of the Yangtze River estuary was used to investigate how plant invasions affect CH4 emissions and whether CH4 emission changes significantly differ between the H- and L-sites with heterogeneous conditions. A static closed chamber method was used to conduct gas sampling measurements at both H- and L-sites. In addition, plant biomass and soil properties were investigated in both invasive and native plant stands.

Results and discussion

CH4 emissions from the S. alterniflora stands were all significantly higher than those from the native plant stands at both H- and L-sites. Furthermore, the difference in CH4 emissions between S. alterniflora and P. australis stands in the H-sites was significantly lower than that between S. alterniflora and S. mariqueter stands in the L-sites. Plant biomass, soil organic carbon, and microbial biomass in S. alterniflora stands were all significantly higher than those in the native plant stands in both H-sites and L-sites. The soil properties also changed. Our results indicate that the S. alterniflora invasion significantly enhanced CH4 emissions from wetlands in the Yangtze River estuary. The invasion-related CH4 emissions were highly spatially variable; this variability may have been driven by the soil’s anaerobic environments, induced by hydrological dynamics.


These results can have important implications for improving our ability to predict invasion-induced changes in CH4 emissions from wetlands in the context of global climate change.


CH4 emissions Coastal wetlands Plant invasion Soil organic carbon Spartina alterniflora 


Funding information

This research was funded by the Scientific Research Fund of Liaoning Provincial Education Department (LYB201615), Startup Foundation for Doctors of Liaoning Province (20170520069), The Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (SKLEC-KF201713), The Open Project of State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (ES201809), The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0600505), The National Natural Science Foundation of China (21704037), and National Water Pollution Control and Treatment Science and Technology Major Project (2015ZX07202-012).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naishun Bu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Siqi Wu
    • 1
  • Xiao Yang
    • 1
  • Yuyang Sun
    • 1
  • Zhonglin Chen
    • 1
  • Xiping Ma
    • 1
  • Youtao Song
    • 1
  • Fang Ma
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zhuojun Yan
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Environmental ScienceLiaoning UniversityShenyangChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and EnvironmentHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal ResearchEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.College of ChemistryLiaoning UniversityShenyangChina

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