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Anoxic nitrification in marine sediments

Mortimer, R.J.G., Harris, S.J., Krom, M.D., Freitag, T.E., Prosser, J.I., Barnes, J., Anschutz, P., Hayes, P.J. and Davies, I.M. (2004) Anoxic nitrification in marine sediments. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 276. pp. 37-51. ISSN 0171-8630

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Nitrate peaks are found in pore-water profiles in marine sediments at depths considerably below the conventional zone of oxic nitrification. These have been interpreted to represent nonsteady- state effects produced by the activity of nitrifying bacteria, and suggest that nitrification occurs throughout the anoxic sediment region. In this study, ΣNO3 peaks and molecular analysis of DNA and RNA extracted from anoxic sediments of Loch Duich, an organic-rich marine fjord, are consistent with nitrification occurring in the anoxic zone. Analysis of ammonia oxidiser 16S rRNA gene fragments amplified from sediment DNA indicated the abundance of autotrophic ammonia-oxidising bacteria throughout the sediment depth sampled (40 cm), while RT-PCR analysis indicated their potential activity throughout this region. A large non-steady-state pore-water ΣNO3 peak at ~21 cm correlated with discontinuities in this ammonia-oxidiser community. In addition, a subsurface nitrate peak at ~8 cm below the oxygen penetration depth, correlated with the depth of a peak in nitrification rate, assessed by transformation of 15N-labelled ammonia. The source of the oxidant required to support nitrification within the anoxic region is uncertain. It is suggested that rapid recycling of N is occurring, based on a coupled reaction involving Mn oxides (or possibly highly labile Fe oxides) buried during small-scale slumping events. However, to fully investigate this coupling, advances in the capability of high-resolution pore-water techniques are required.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2004 Inter-Research. This article first appeared in Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., Vol 276, 2004
Keywords: Anoxic nitrification, Diffusive Equilibrium in Thin films, (DET), 16sRNA
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Earth and Environment (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2004
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 14:45
Published Version: http://www.int-res.com/
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/227

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