Water column methanotrophy controlled by a rapid oceanographic switch

Steinle, Lea and Graves, Carolyn A. and Treude, Tina and Ferre, Benedicte and Biastoch, Arne and Bussmann, Ingeborg and Berndt, Christian and Krastel, Sebastian and James, Rachael H. and Behrens, Erik and Boening, Claus W. and Greinert, Jens and Sapart, Celia-Julia and Scheinert, Markus and Sommer, Stefan and Lehmann, Moritz F. and Niemann, Helge. (2015) Water column methanotrophy controlled by a rapid oceanographic switch. Nature geoscience, 8 (5). pp. 378-382.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/40204/

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Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are released from the seabed to the water column(1), where it may be consumed by aerobic methanotrophic bacteria(2). The size and activity of methanotrophic communities, which determine the amount of methane consumed in the water column, are thought to be mainly controlled by nutrient and redox dynamics(3-7). Here, we report repeated measurements of methanotrophic activity and community size at methane seeps west of Svalbard, and relate them to physical water mass properties and modelled ocean currents. We show that cold bottom water, which contained a large number of aerobic methanotrophs, was displaced by warmer water with a considerably smaller methanotrophic community within days. Ocean current simulations using a global ocean/sea-ice model suggest that this water mass exchange is consistent with short-term variations in the meandering West Spitsbergen Current. We conclude that the shift from an offshore to a nearshore position of the current can rapidly and severely reduce methanotrophic activity in the water column. Strong fluctuating currents are common at many methane seep systems globally, and we suggest that they affect methane oxidation in the water column at other sites, too.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Aquatic and Isotope Biogeochemistry (Lehmann)
UniBasel Contributors:Lehmann, Moritz F and Niemann, Helge and Steinle, Lea
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publ. Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:30 Jun 2016 11:00
Deposited On:15 Jun 2016 08:41

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