Systematic literature review on modelling aquatic greenhouse gas emissions

Systematic literature review on modelling aquatic greenhouse gas emissions

Aquatic Ecology

Contact Person:

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

In this study, we aim to have an overview of how existing models estimate CO2 and CH4 emission processes in inland waters and identify key modelling processes. This information will guide the implementation of the carbon cycle to ecological aquatic models, such as PCDitch.

Shallow inland waters are greenhouse gas (GHG) emission hotspots. High anthropogenic nutrient and organic loading combined with global warming provides ideal conditions for high emissions of the potent GHGs. Simultaneously, there is great potential for the reduction of aquatic GHG emissions and for carbon(C) burial. 

Emission quantification is so far seriously hampered by the low number of measurements, and even more by the fact that GHG emission via bubbles, making up >60% of the total emission, has mostly been overlooked. Quantification of inland water GHG emissions is urgent, as in water‐rich regions they are most likely responsible for a considerable share of national emissions. Even more importantly, successful GHG mitigation strategies are lacking due to limited insight into the biogeochemical key drivers of both processes and potential mitigation strategies. 

The GHG emission model can be used as such a tool to explore GHG fluxes by including important GHG processes and allowing simulations under different nutrient loading and climate change scenarios without changing the system itself. In DIGS project, we aim to expand an ecological model PCDitch with a C cycle to estimate CO2 and CH4 emissions from ditches. However, it is unclear how the existing models simulate CO2 and CH4 emissions in the inland water system and what can be used to advance PCDitch.


Systematic literature review and  greenhouse gas modelling.

Systematic literature review is a systematic method to identify, collect, and compare existing literature that is relative to research questions. We will conduct the systematic literature review with the following steps:

  1. Protocol design
  2. Literature collection
  3. Quality assessment

PCDitch is an ecological model for ditches that incorporates a competition module of algae and six vegetation functional groups with different abilities to obtain light and nutrients. By adding carbon cycle to the current PCDitch, PCDitch is able to link CO2 and CH4 emissions  with water quality and ecological status in ditches. 

After this study you may have insight into

  • The whole process of systematic literature review 
  • Key elements of GHG modelling and ecological modelling in aquatic systems

This topic is open for master students who are interested in literature review and modelling


At least 4 months (from August)


Department of Aquatic Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Wageningen, The Netherlands.