3 years ago

Microbial community structure and soil pH correspond to methane production in Arctic Alaska soils

David Lipson, Donatella Zona, Robert Wagner, Walter Oechel
While there is no doubt that biogenic methane production in the Arctic is an important aspect of global methane emissions, the relative roles of microbial community characteristics and soil environmental conditions in controlling Arctic methane emissions remains uncertain. Here, relevant methane-cycling microbial groups were investigated at two remote Arctic sites with respect to soil potential methane production (PMP). Percent abundances of methanogens and iron-reducing bacteria correlated with increased PMP, while methanotrophs correlated with decreased PMP. Interestingly, α-diversity of the methanogens was positively correlated with PMP, while β-diversity was unrelated to PMP. The β-diversity of the entire microbial community, however, was related to PMP. Shannon diversity was a better correlate of PMP than Simpson diversity across analyses, while rarefied species richness was a weak correlate of PMP. These results demonstrate the following: first, soil pH and microbial community structure both probably control methane production in Arctic soils. Second, there may be high functional redundancy in the methanogens with regard to methane production. Third, iron-reducing bacteria co-occur with methanogens in Arctic soils, and iron-reduction-mediated effects on methanogenesis may be controlled by α- and β-diversity. And finally, species evenness and rare species abundances may be driving relationships between microbial groups, influencing Arctic methane production.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13854

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