Jaron Adkins, Capturing CO2 and Methane in the YK Delta

Jaron describe the process to capture CO2 and Methane in the field with a Licor Machine.

Role of Soil Microbes

Jaron says, “I’m really interested in soil microbes, soil fungi, and bacteria; creatures that are doing the decomposing in the soil and that are ultimately responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions.” Jaron wants to know what microbes are in the soil, what they are doing, and really, what their overall role is driving greenhouse gas emissions.

Soil Gas Flux Analyzers

An above and below ground view of domes trapping CO2 and Methane and microbes active in soil.
Animation of soil gas flux analyzers or Licors.

The domed machines are our soil gas flux chambers. Once they are positioned on a plot and hooked together with hoses, see the black hoses in the videos and photos, they give us data. Jaron says pointing to a computer screen graph; “These numbers are the actual numbers behind what we are seeing here.”

“In layman’s terms,” Jaron continues, “what that means is soils are emitting carbon dioxide because the bacteria and fungi in the soil are decomposing the plant material in there. So as they are decomposing, breaking it down into products they can use, they are releasing what is left over, which in this case is carbon dioxide.  And some other things of course by carbon dioxide is what we captured.”

Note, data suggests grazed plots seem to release more gas than grassy plots.

Collection of Data

Jaron's face lit from computer screen as he looks at the CO2 and Methane data.
Jaron looking at data in the field.

According to Jaron, all the data collected from the instruments is stored in the instruments themselves. After the Licor is done with the measurement cycle, he downloads it directly to the field computer and does some preliminary analysis to get a rough sense of how the different treatments on the different plots affect the gas output.

Jaron describes further; When you think about carbon dioxide being omitted from the soil, most of that is due to bacteria and fungi decomposing plant material for energy, food. And as they do that they release carbon dioxide, I mean, you can think of it as their breathing just as a human does. They take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. It’s a similar process.


Related Videos

Project Summary

Carbon Research in the Arctic