Temperature, dissolved oxygen and dissolved methane profiles were measured during autumn and summer, in a shallow floodplain lake in south-eastern Australia to determine the effects of water-column stability on methane and oxygen dynamics. The water column was well mixed in autumn. Strong thermal stratification developed in the late afternoon in summer, with top-to-bottom temperature differences of up to similar to6 degreesC. Methane concentrations in surface waters varied over a daily cycle by an 18-fold range in summer, but only by a 2-fold range in autumn. The implication of short-term temporal variation is that static chambers deployed on the water surface for short times (less than a day) in summer will significantly underestimate the diffusive component of methane emissions across the water-atmosphere interface. There was a marked diel variation in dissolved oxygen concentrations in summer, with the highest oxygen values (commonly 5-8 mg l(-1)) occurring in the surface waters in late afternoon; the bottom waters were then devoid of oxygen (<0.2 mg l(-1)). Because of high respiratory demands, even the surface water layers could be nearly anoxic by morning in summer. The concentration of dissolved oxygen in the surface waters was always less than the equilibrium value. When the water column became thermally stratified in summer, the dissolved oxygen and methane maxima were spatially separated, and planktonic methanotrophy would be limited to a moving zone, at variable depth, in the water column. In summer the whole-wetland rates of oxygen production and respiration, calculated from long-term (similar to 5 h) shifts in dissolved oxygen concentrations over a diel period, were approximately 6-10 and 3-6 mmol m(-3) h(-1), respectively. These values correspond to net and gross primary production rates of similar to 0.7-1.2 and 1.0-1.9 g C m(-3) day(-1), respectively.