Nitrogen cycling processes and microbial community composition in bed sediments in the Yukon River at Pilot Station

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
By: , and 

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Abstract

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 (narGnapAnosZ, 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.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
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
DOI 10.1002/2014JG002707
Volume 119
Issue 12
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher AGU Publications
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 16 p.
First page 2328
Last page 2344
Country United States
State Alaska
City Pilot Station
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N