Quantifiying the role of lakes and rivers in carbon budgets
Unlike terrestrial ecosystems, lakes and rivers are generally considered to be sources of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and other greenhouse gases. Our studies show that continental aquatic ecosystems collectively emit quantities of carbon similar to what oceans absorb (Cole et Prairie 2007; Tranvik et al. 2009).
Our research explores the environmental conditions which regulate the quantity of greenhouse gases produced by lakes and rivers. We also develop models which will allow us to estimate with greater precision the contribution of certain types of lakes and rivers in global carbon budgets.
For related manuscripts, see Ferland et al. 2012, Marchand et al. 2009 and Teodoru et al. 2009.
Human activities in lakes and the global carbon budget
Deforestation, eutrophication, large-scale flooding for hydroelectric reservoirs and accelerated sedimentation rates in lakes and rivers contribute many additional gigatonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere each year. Our research focuses on the precise quantification of greenhouse gases emitted by anthropogenic activities at both a regional and planetary scale as well as their integration in to sustainable development projects.
In collaboration with UNESCO and the International Hydropower Association, we have developed a tool to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from hydroelectric reservoirs. For related manuscripts, see Teodoru et al. 2012, Brothers et al. 2012 and Barros et al. 2011.
Climate change and aquatic ecosystems
Among the anticipated effects of climate change, increases in air temperature and wind speeds will have direct effects on the structure and thermal regime of lakes. These direct effects of climate change can then modulate many biological and geochemical aspects of lakes. Our studies aim to quantify how changes in lake thermal regimes can alter biogeochemical processes which influence greenhouse gas emissions. The objective of this research is to estimate whether lakes will play a larger or smaller role in greenhouse gas emissions at a global scale when faced with climate change.
For related manuscripts, see Mercier-Blais et al. 2014, Cantin et al. 2011a and Cantin et al. 2011b.