Information on the contribution of nitrogen (N)-cycling processes in bed sediments to river nutrient fluxes in large northern latitude river systems is limited. This study examined the relationship between N-cycling processes in bed sediments and N speciation and loading in the Yukon River near its mouth at the Bering Sea. We conducted laboratory bioassays to measure N-cycling processes in sediment samples collected over distinct water cycle seasons. In conjunction, the microbial community composition in the bed sediments using genes involved in N-cycling (narG, napA, nosZ, and amoA) and 16S rRNA gene pyrosequences was examined. Temporal variation was observed in net N mineralization, nitrate uptake, and denitrification rate potentials and correlated strongly with sediment carbon (C) and extractable N content and microbial community composition rather than with river water nutrient concentrations. The C content of the bed sediment was notably impacted by the spring flood, ranging from 1.1% in the midst of an ice-jam to 0.1% immediately after ice-out, suggesting a buildup of organic material (OM) prior to scouring of the bed sediments during ice break up. The dominant members of the microbial community that explained differences in N-processing rates belonged to the genera Crenothrix,Flavobacterium, and the family of Comamonadaceae. Our results suggest that biogeochemical processing rates in the bed sediments appear to be more coupled to hydrology, nutrient availability in the sediments, and microbial community composition rather than river nutrient concentrations at Pilot Station.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Nitrogen cycling processes and microbial community composition in bed sediments in the Yukon River at Pilot Station|
|Series title||Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences|
|Contributing office(s)||National Research Program - Central Branch, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|