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Title: Examining anaerobic microbial communities that direct the fate of terrestrial carbon in lake sediments.
Authors: Yakimovich, Kurt
Keywords: Sediment;microbiome;bacteria;fungi;methanogens;freshwater;microbiology;leaf litter;decomposition;lake sediment;carbon;methane
Issue Date: 5-Jun-2017
Abstract: Freshwater lake sediments play key roles in the cycling of carbon. This includes hosting microbial communities responsible for mineralizing large amounts of carbon into greenhouse gases—namely CO2 and CH4. Yet despite the important roles of sediment communities, their ecology and community structure linkages to biogeochemical cycling are not well known, and little data exists exploring how sediment microbial communities respond to different organic matter inputs. Here I start by reviewing previous literature on lake sediment microbial communities and the physicochemical factors affecting their composition and diversity. Next I report on data from two experiments, first an in-vitro lab study and then an in-situ field study, in which lake sediments were amended with different plant litters that could result from land use change and or succession in catchments. Microbial communities were examined with next generation amplicon sequencing. These data were linked to rates of CO2 and CH4 flux and dissolved organic matter (DOM) components present in pore water were examined as potential controls on community structure and function. I observed in-vitro that methanogen community composition and activity were affected by OM type, with macrophyte derived C enhancing microbial activity, whereas high concentrations of polyphenolic compounds from terrestrial tree litters inhibited methanogen activity. The polyphenols had an environmental filtering effect, selecting for different bacteria, fungi and methanogen communities. The in-situ experiments involved installing mesocosms with artificial sediments with variable amounts of deciduous and coniferous tree leaf litter. In these mesocosms we observed a link between methanogen community composition and decomposition rates, as measured with bulk CO2 and CH4 production and DOM humification. Decomposition rates were influenced by lake physicochemical factors, particularly the degree of photoexposure. With increased decomposition, specialist taxa of methanogens could thrive that conferred higher rates of methanogenesis. The work presented here demonstrates the adaptability of methanogen lake sediment communities as terminal decomposers under changing terrestrial OM subsidies.
Appears in Collections:Biology - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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