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Methane fluxes show consistent temperature dependence across microbial to ecosystem scales

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, March 2014
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (83rd percentile)


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Methane fluxes show consistent temperature dependence across microbial to ecosystem scales
Published in
Nature, March 2014
DOI 10.1038/nature13164
Pubmed ID

Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, Andrew P. Allen, David Bastviken, Ralf Conrad, Cristian Gudasz, Annick St-Pierre, Nguyen Thanh-Duc, Paul A. del Giorgio


Methane (CH4) is an important greenhouse gas because it has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2) by mass over a century. Recent calculations suggest that atmospheric CH4 emissions have been responsible for approximately 20% of Earth's warming since pre-industrial times. Understanding how CH4 emissions from ecosystems will respond to expected increases in global temperature is therefore fundamental to predicting whether the carbon cycle will mitigate or accelerate climate change. Methanogenesis is the terminal step in the remineralization of organic matter and is carried out by strictly anaerobic Archaea. Like most other forms of metabolism, methanogenesis is temperature-dependent. However, it is not yet known how this physiological response combines with other biotic processes (for example, methanotrophy, substrate supply, microbial community composition) and abiotic processes (for example, water-table depth) to determine the temperature dependence of ecosystem-level CH4 emissions. It is also not known whether CH4 emissions at the ecosystem level have a fundamentally different temperature dependence than other key fluxes in the carbon cycle, such as photosynthesis and respiration. Here we use meta-analyses to show that seasonal variations in CH4 emissions from a wide range of ecosystems exhibit an average temperature dependence similar to that of CH4 production derived from pure cultures of methanogens and anaerobic microbial communities. This average temperature dependence (0.96 electron volts (eV)), which corresponds to a 57-fold increase between 0 and 30°C, is considerably higher than previously observed for respiration (approximately 0.65 eV) and photosynthesis (approximately 0.3 eV). As a result, we show that both the emission of CH4 and the ratio of CH4 to CO2 emissions increase markedly with seasonal increases in temperature. Our findings suggest that global warming may have a large impact on the relative contributions of CO2 and CH4 to total greenhouse gas emissions from aquatic ecosystems, terrestrial wetlands and rice paddies.

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 653 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 15 2%
United Kingdom 7 1%
Brazil 4 <1%
Switzerland 3 <1%
Japan 3 <1%
Sweden 2 <1%
Netherlands 2 <1%
India 1 <1%
Italy 1 <1%
Other 10 2%
Unknown 605 93%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 170 26%
Researcher 143 22%
Student > Master 103 16%
Student > Bachelor 72 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 30 5%
Other 89 14%
Unknown 46 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 213 33%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 147 23%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 91 14%
Engineering 30 5%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 27 4%
Other 64 10%
Unknown 81 12%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 180. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 February 2020.
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Nature
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Altmetric has tracked 14,372,250 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 72,094 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 80.0. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 190,111 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 951 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its contemporaries.