Published February 9, 2023 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Rates of greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) fluxes, denitrification-derived N2O and N2 fluxes and nitrification-derived N2O fluxes from salt marsh soils in Quebec, Canada and Louisiana, U.S. under ambient and elevated temperature and nutrient loading.

  • 1. University of Birmingham, McGill University
  • 2. University of Birmingham
  • 3. McGill University
  • 4. USGS
  • 5. Louisiana State University
  • 6. University of Bristol


Dataset used in Elevated temperature and nutrients lead to increased N2O emissions from salt marsh soils from cold and warm climates.

The dataset contains fluxes calculated from headspace gas samples taken over a 24 hour period from intact soil cores, as well as corresponding environmental data. Intact soil cores (0-15 cm depth, 2.5 cm diameter) were taken at five sampling locations along a 20 m transect using a soil auger or piston corer. Samples were collected along a transect in four marsh sites in Quebec, Canada (La Pocatière: 47°22'24.7"N 70°03'26.3"W) and Louisiana, U.S. (Barataria Basin: 29°33'47.3"N 90°04'22.8"W and 29°29'52.2"N 89°55'00.2"W) from two vegetation types (Sporobolus alterniflorus formerly known as Spartina alterniflora and Sporobolus pumilus formerly known as Spartina patens). In Quebec, the two vegetation zones were in the same marsh whereas in Louisiana two separate marshes, dominated by the relevant vegetation, were chosen. Soil samples were collected on the 20-21st July 2021 from Louisiana and the 9-10th August 2021 from Quebec. Environmental data was collected including in-situ soil temperature and salinity, and gravimetric soil moisture, extractable soil dissolved organic carbon (DOC), extractable soil total dissolved nitrogen (TDN), extractable soil nitrate, extractable soil ammonium, extractable soil soluble reactive phosphate, soil total carbon, soil total nitrogen, soil carbon to nitrogen ratio, soil d13C and soil d15N determined from additional 0-15 cm core samples. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 838296, a NSERC Discovery Grant and a Natural Environment Research Council grant number (NE/T012323/1).

Stable 15N tracers were added to the intact soil cores so that at each location, at each treatment level (ambient and elevated, described below), there was one core receiving no tracer for greenhouse gas fluxes, one core receiving 15N-NO3for denitrification rates and one core receiving 15N-NH4+ for nitrification rates. The cores were incubated at ambient temperature (16 ℃ and 28.1 ℃ for Quebec and Louisiana, respectively) and nutrient concentrations (3.2 NO3-, 2.0 NH4+; 2.9 NO3-, 2.5 NH4+; 0.5 NO3-, 7.3 NH4+ and 5.7 NO3-, 2.8 NH4+ mg g wet soil-1 for Quebec S. alterniflorus, Quebec S. pumilus, Louisiana S. alterniflorus and Louisiana S. pumilus, respectively), and elevated temperature (ambient temperature +5 ℃) and nutrient concentration (double ambient concentration). Gas samples were collected from the headspace of 0-15 cm intact cores in a 20 cm high PVC pipe, capped at the top and bottom to create a 5 cm headspace. Gas samples were analysed for greenhouse gases (GHGs: N2O, CH4, CO2) and 15N in denitrification-derived N2O, denitrification-derived N2 and nitrification-derived N­2O.

Soil temperature (YSI 30, Baton Rouge, USA or DeltaTrak 11050, Pleasanton, USA) and porewater salinity (YSI 30, Baton Rouge, USA or portable ATC refractometer) were measured in-situ or in the laboratory using the portable refactometer. Additional soil samples were used for multiple analyses; one subsample was extracted with ultrapure water (18.2 MΩ) for DOC and TDN analysis, one subsample was extracted with 2M KCl for NO3- and NH4+, one subsample was extracted with Olsen-P solution (0.5 M NaHCO3, pH 8.5), for soluble reactive phosphate analysis and one subsample was weighed and dried for soil moisture and then finely ground and analysed for total carbon, total nitrogen, d13C and d15N.

N2O, CH4 and CO2 concentrations were measured in the gas samples using a gas chromatograph interfaced with a PAL3 autosampler (Agilent 7890A, Agilent Technologies Ltd, USA) fitted with a flame ionisation detector (FID) for CH4 analysis and a micro electron capture detector (mECD) for N2O analysis. CO2 was methanised to CH4 before analysis on the FID. The instrument precision as the relative standard deviation was < 5 % for all of the gases, while the minimum detectable concentration difference (MDCD) was 9 ppb N2O, 72 ppb CH4 and 31 ppm CO2. Potential GHG fluxes were calculated from the linear portion or where the highest production was observed in the concentration-time series ( If fluxes were below the MDCD they were set to zero see ( The 15N content of the N2 and N2O was determined using a continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer (Elementar Isoprime PrecisION; Elementar Analysensysteme GmbH, Hanau, Germany) coupled with a trace-gas pre-concentrator inlet with autosampler (isoFLOW GHG; Elementar Analysensysteme GmbH, Hanau, Germany), with a standard deviation of d15N < 0.05 %. Extractable dissolved organic carbon and total dissolved nitrogen were analysed in soil extractant (ultrapure water 18.2 MΩ, 7:1 of extractant to soil) on a TOC/TDN analyser (TOC VCSn + TMN-1, Shimadzu, Kyoto, Japan), with 50 mg C l-1 and 10 mg l-1 standards resulting in accuracy and precision of 0.3 and ±0.3 mg C l-1, and 0.5 and ±0.3 mg N l-1, respectively. Extractable nitrate+nitrite (assumed to be nitrate) and ammonium were analysed in soil extractant (2M KCl, 5:1 of extractant to soil) using a microplate reader and methods in Sims et al., 1995 ( with a limit of detection of 0.1 ppm and accuracy of ±5 %. Extractable phosphate was analysed in soil extractant (Olsen-P solution 0.5M NaHCO­3, pH 8.5, 10:1 of extractant to dry soil) using a microplate reader and methods in Jeannotte et al., 2004 ( with a limit of detection of 1 mg P l-1 and accuracy of ±6 %. Soil total carbon, total nitrogen, d13C and d15N analysis was performed using a continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer (Elementar Isoprime PrecisION; Elementar Analysensysteme GmbH, Hanau, Germany) coupled with an elemental analyser (EA) inlet (vario PYRO cube; Elementar Analysensysteme GmbH, Hanau, Germany). The precision was < 5 % for both C and N and the precision as a standard deviation was < 0.06 % for both d13C and d15N. Results from the experiments were entered into an Excel spreadsheet for ingestion into the Zenodo data repository.


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MarshFlux – The effect of future global climate and land-use change on greenhouse gas fluxes and microbial processes in salt marshes 838296
European Commission