School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



An ever-increasing demand for protein-rich food sources combined with dwindling wild fish stocks has caused the aquaculture sector to boom in the last two decades. Although fishponds are potentially strong emitters of the greenhouse gas methane (CH4), little is known about the magnitude, pathways, and drivers of these emissions. We measured diffusive CH4 emissions at the margin and in the center of 52 freshwater fishponds in Brazil. In a subset of ponds (n = 31) we additionally quantified ebullitive CH4 fluxes and sampled water and sediment for biogeochemical analyses. Sediments (n = 20) were incubated to quantify potential CH4 production. Ebullitive CH4 emissions ranged between 0 and 477 mg m−2 d−1 and contributed substantially (median 85%) to total CH4 emissions, surpassing diffusive emissions in 81% of ponds. Diffusive CH4 emissions were higher in the center (median 11.4 mg CH4 m−2 d−1) than at the margin (median 6.1 mg CH4 m−2 d−1) in 90% of ponds. Sediment CH4 production ranged between 0 and 3.17 mg CH4 g C−1 d−1. We found no relation between sediment CH4 production and in situ emissions. Our findings suggest that dominance of CH4 ebullition over diffusion is widespread across aquaculture ponds. Management practices to minimize the carbon footprint of aquaculture production should focus on reducing sediment accumulation and CH4 ebullition.


© 2023 Vroom, Kosten, Almeida, Mendonça, Muzitano, Barbosa, Nasário, Oliveira Junior, Flecker and Barros. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

Frontiers in Water





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.