Halogen biogeochemistry of invasive perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) in a peatland pasture

M. A.H. Khan, R. C. Rhew, K. Zhou, M. E. Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) is a widespread invasive plant in North America. This yearlong field study at a pasture peatland infested with L. latifolium demonstrates that these plants are large emitters, on a per area basis, of methyl chloride (CH3Cl) and methyl bromide (CH 3Br), compounds that contribute to the destruction of stratospheric ozone. Annually averaged net emission rates were 9.0 ± 11.8 μmol m-2 d-1 for CH3Cl and 460 ± 430 nmol m-2 d-1 for CH3Br, comparable to observed coastal salt marsh emission rates. A stable isotope tracer technique was used to distinguish between simultaneous production and consumption processes for CH3Cl and CH3Br. Over the course of the year, gross production rates for methyl halides varied widely over different life cycle stages, with the highest fluxes surprisingly occurring at senescence. Maximum emissions of CH3Cl and CH3Br occurred at midday, the time of highest solar radiation. During the growing season, methyl halide gross production rates were positively correlated with temperature and live biomass, suggesting that the production of methyl halides from L. latifolium at this time was mostly biotic. During plant senescence, the peak emissions of CH 3Cl and CH3Br are unexplained but may be released from L. latifolium associated with transitions in biochemistry. Overall, these flux measurements show expected diel and growing season trends based on plant production for most of the year, overlaid by a high emission peak during senescence, suggesting that both plant biochemical shifts and varying environmental factors need to be considered as important internal and external controls on emissions. Key PointsInvasive pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) emits methyl halides at high ratesThe highest emissions surprisingly occur during plant senescenceSeasonally averaged fluxes are strongly influenced by end-of-season fluxes

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research G: Biogeosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Soil Science
  • Palaeontology
  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science


  • Sherman Island
  • gross production
  • methyl bromide
  • methyl chloride
  • senescence
  • temporal variability


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