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Harrison Research Group News

New(ish) papers from our group

In the past few months, our group has published several papers, including:

  • a novel demonstration of how redox dynamics and reservoir water level management can interact to affect water quality (See: Deemer and Harrison, 2019, Ecosystems)
  • a letter to the editor at Nature, written with IPCC colleagues, responding to a Nature Commentary suggesting that dams should be considered a net benefit to greenhouse gas budgets (See: Harrison et al., 2019, Nature)
  • a review of recent efforts to model phosphorus transport through rivers at the global scale (See: Harrison et al., 2019, COSUST)
  • an effort to define a roadmap for the development of global lake eutrophication and HAB models (See: Janssen et al., 2019, COSUST)
  • a paper laying out the argument for systematic intercomparisons of global nutrient transport models (See: van Vliet et al., 2019, COSUST); for a list of all articles appearing in this COSUST special issue on global modeling of water quality, click here
  • and a paper led by graduate students in Harrison’s Watershed Biogeochemistry course, characterizing the geographic distribution and controls of harmful algae blooms in Pacific Northwest Lakes (See: Rose et al., 2019, Lake and Reservoir Management)

New Paper Highlights “Mystery Electron Acceptors”

Methane is an important greenhouse gas, and lakes and reservoirs account for roughly 10% of methane flux to the atmosphere globally.  The contribution of aquatic sediments to atmospheric methane would be much greater if it were not for methane oxidation, the microbial process whereby methane is converted to CO2, a much more soluble, less potent greenhouse gas.  A paper just out in Biogeochemistry by Dan Reed, Bridget Deemer, Sigrid Van Grinsven, and John Harrison, titled Are elusive anaerobic pathways key methane sinks in eutrophic lakes and reservoirs? provides new insight into this critical biogeochemical process.  In the paper, Reed et al. show that concentrations of typical inorganic electron acceptors (compounds like oxygen, nitrate, and sulfate) are often insufficient to support observed rates of methane oxidation.  To resolve this issue, we postulate that organic matter can serve as an important, though often-ignored, alternative electron acceptor in lakes and reservoirs, fueling high rates of methane oxidation, and urge the broader community to directly test this hypothesis.

Harrison to participate in IPCC national inventory guideline development for “flooded lands”

John will participate as a U.S. delegate and lead author in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s upcoming effort to update how countries account for their greenhouse gas emissions.  Until recently, national greenhouse gas inventories have not included emissions from reservoirs, but recent work from our group and others has shown that this is a substantial oversight.  In an effort to correct this, the UN has commissioned a chapter of their revised guidance to the national inventory development process focused on reservoirs.  The first meeting for lead authors will occur in Bilbao Spain in June.