Methanogenesis in Arizona, USA dryland streams

Jeremy B. Jones, Robert M. Holmes, Stuart G. Fisher, Nancy Grimm, Dena M. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Methanogenesis was studied in five streams of central and southern Arizona by examining the distribution of methane in interstitial water and evasion of methane in three subsystems (hyporheic, parafluvial and bank sediments). In Sycamore Creek, the primary study site (studied during summer and early autumn), methane content of interstitial water exhibited a distinct spatial pattern. In hyporheic (sediments beneath the wetted channel) and parfluvial zones (active channel sediments lateral to the wetted channel), which were well oxygenated due to high hydrologic exchange with the surface stream and had little particulate organic matter (POM), interstitial methane concentration averaged only 0.03 mgCH4-C/L. Bank sediments (interface between the active channel and riparian zone), in contrast, which were typically vegetated, had high POM, low hydrologic exchange and concomitantly low dissolved oxygen levels, had interstitial concentration averaging 1.5 mgCH4-C/L. Methane emission from Sycamore Creek, similar to methane concentration, averaged only 3.7 mgCH4-C·m-2·d-1 from hyporheic and parafluvial zones as opposed to 170 mgCH4-C·m-2·d-1 from anoxic bank sediments. Methane in four additional streams sampled (one sampling date during late winter) was low and exhibited little spatial variation most likely due to cooler stream temperatures. Interstitial methane in parafluvial and bank sediments of all four streams ranged from only 0.005 to 0.1 mgCH4-C/L. Similarly methane evasion was also low from these streams varying from 0 to 5.7 mgCH4-C·m-2·d-1. The effects of organic matter and temperature on methanogenesis were further examined by experimentally manipulating POM and temperature in stoppered flasks filled with hyporheic sediments and stream water. Methane production significantly increased with all independent variables. Methane production is greatest in bank sediments that are relatively isolated hydrologically and lowest in hyporheic and parafluvial sediments that are interactive with the surface stream.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • Sonoran Desert
  • arid-lands
  • hydrologic exchange
  • methane
  • methanogenesis
  • streams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Methanogenesis in Arizona, USA dryland streams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this