Freshwater wetlands are frequently created or restored with the goal of replicating valuable ecosystem functions lost elsewhere. However, studies in created wetlands have demonstrated production of greenhouse gases (GHG) may be enhanced during early establishment, potentially counteracting desirable ecosystem services such as nutrient removal. In this research, we investigated the impact of hydrology and carbon addition on denitrification and fluxes of N2O from two created wetlands that differ in antecedent land use and hydrology. Ten experimental zones were installed in both wetlands and compost (municipal leaf litter) was added to half of the zones as a soil amendment. Soil and ecosystem N2O fluxes, potential denitrification rates, soil properties and nutrient concentration were measured during the growing season of 2016. There was high variability in weather conditions during the study period, with drought conditions during the summer growing season. Compost addition significantly increased potential denitrification at both sites, but overall rates were driven by precipitation and nutrient availability. Soil N2O fluxes were highly variable and correlated with precipitation patterns and nutrient availability, but were not impacted by compost addition. The key role of precipitation and temperature in GHG fluxes in both wetlands, implies susceptibility to ongoing climate changes. When creating wetlands, the regulation of nutrients, carbon and hydrology should be taken into consideration to limit GHG production and maximize desirable ecosystem services such as denitrification.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Constructed wetlands--Ecology; Denitrification; Nitrous oxide--Environmental aspects

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Environmental Science (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)


Anna Christina Tyler

Advisor/Committee Member

Carmody McCalley

Advisor/Committee Member

Nathan Eddingsaas


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes