Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Thomas Grant Pypker


Rodney A Chimner


Experimental warming provides a method to determine how an ecosystem will respond to increased temperatures. Northern peatland ecosystems, sensitive to changing climates, provide an excellent setting for experimental warming. Storing great quantities of carbon, northern peatlands play a critical role in regulating global temperatures. Two of the most common methods of experimental warming include open top chambers (OTCs) and infrared (IR) lamps. These warming systems have been used in many ecosystems throughout the world, yet their efficacy to create a warmer environment is variable and has not been widely studied. To date, there has not been a direct, experimentally controlled comparison of OTCs and IR lamps. As a result, a factorial study was implemented to compare the warming efficacy of OTCs and IR lamps and to examine the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) flux rates in a Lake Superior peatland.

IR lamps warmed the ecosystem on average by 1-2 #°C, with the majority of warming occurring during nighttime hours. OTC's did not provide any long-term warming above control plots, which is contrary to similar OTC studies at high latitudes. By investigating diurnal heating patterns and micrometeorological variables, we were able to conclude that OTCs were not achieving strong daytime heating peaks and were often cooler than control plots during nighttime hours. Temperate day-length, cloudy and humid conditions, and latent heat loss were factors that inhibited OTC warming. There were no changes in CO2 flux between warming treatments in lawn plots. Gross ecosystem production was significantly greater in IR lamp-hummock plots, while ecosystem respiration was not affected. CH4 flux was not significantly affected by warming treatment. Minimal daytime heating differences, high ambient temperatures, decay resistant substrate, as well as other factors suppressed significant gas flux responses from warming treatments.