But researchers from the University of Glasgow have found for the first time that fast-moving rivers work in a similar manner, releasing more gas than slower streams.

A team of researchers from the University's School of Geographical and Earth Sciences describe their findings from several years of testing around rivers in two locations in Scotland and four in the Peruvian Amazon. The research provides more insight into the carbon cycle, the complex process by which the element carbon is used and transferred between living things, the land, bodies of water and the atmosphere.

University of Glasgow student Hazel Long and researcher Leena Vihermaa used infrared gas analysers to quantify the amount of carbon dioxide released by the rivers in each location. A separate flow metre measured the velocity of the water streaming past the detector.

"Carbon is absorbed into waterways through a wide range of sources, including soil and decaying organic material, which are picked up as rivers flow from the land to the sea,"
Hazel said.

The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.

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