3 years ago

Methane emission from feather moss stands

Methane emission from feather moss stands
Andreas Reim, Bianca Pommerenke, Dheeraj Kanaparthi, Ralf Conrad, Guntars O. Martinson
Data from remote sensing and Eddy towers indicate that forests are not always net sinks for atmospheric CH4. However, studies describing specific sources within forests and functional analysis of microorganisms on sites with CH4 turnover are scarce. Feather moss stands were considered to be net sinks for carbon dioxide, but received little attention to their role in CH4 cycling. Therefore, we investigated methanogenic rates and pathways together with the methanogenic microbial community composition in feather moss stands from temperate and boreal forests. Potential rates of CH4 emission from intact moss stands (n = 60) under aerobic conditions ranged between 19 and 133 pmol CH4 h−1 gdw−1. Temperature and water content positively influenced CH4 emission. Methanogenic potentials determined under N2 atmosphere in darkness ranged between 22 and 157 pmol CH4 h−1 gdw−1. Methane production was strongly inhibited by bromoethane sulfonate or chloroform, showing that CH4 was of microbial origin. The moss samples tested contained fluorescent microbial cells and between 104 and 105 copies per gram dry weight moss of the mcrA gene coding for a subunit of the methyl CoM reductase. Archaeal 16S rRNA and mcrA gene sequences in the moss stands were characteristic for the archaeal families Methanobacteriaceae and Methanosarcinaceae. The potential methanogenic rates were similar in incubations with and without methyl fluoride, indicating that the CH4 was produced by the hydrogenotrophic rather than aceticlastic pathway. Consistently, the CH4 produced was depleted in 13C in comparison with the moss biomass carbon and acetate accumulated to rather high concentrations (3–62 mM). The δ13C of acetate was similar to that of the moss biomass, indicating acetate production by fermentation. Our study showed that the feather moss stands contained active methanogenic microbial communities producing CH4 by hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis and causing net emission of CH4 under ambient conditions, albeit at low rates. Depth profile of O2 concentrations in different feather moss stands sampled from Marburg and Sweden. (a) Swedish feather moss; (b) Swedish feather moss O2 depth profile and (c) Marburg feather moss O2 depth profile.

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

DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13764

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