Methanotrophic activity in relation to methane efflux and total heterotrophic bacterial production in a stratified, humic, boreal lake

Kankaala, Paula, Jussi Huotari, Elina Peltomaa, Tuomo Saloranta, Anne Ojala

Limnol. Oceanogr., 51(2), 2006, 1195-1204 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2006.51.2.1195

ABSTRACT: We studied methanotrophic activity in the water column in relation to heterotrophic bacterial production and efflux of methane (CH4) from the lake surface in a small, stratified, humic, boreal lake (Valkea-Kotinen, southern Finland). During summer and winter stratification, the highest methanotrophic activities were in the metalimnion, where oxygen concentration was <6 mmol m-3. During an incomplete spring turnover and summer stratification period, 3-5 times more CH4 was consumed by methanotrophs in the water column than was released to the atmosphere. The highest CH4 effluxes (1.2-5.1 mmol m-2 d-1) to the atmosphere occurred during the autumnal turnover despite observed methanotrophic activity in the whole water column. In winter, the amount of CH4 consumed by methanotrophs (0.20 mol CH4 m-2 during 6.5 months) was of the same order of magnitude as that during the ice-free period (0.22 mol CH4 m-2 during 5.5 months). Annually ~80% of CH4 diffused from the sediment was consumed by methanotrophs in the water column, and only 20% (0.11 mol CH4 m-2 yr-1) was released to the atmosphere. During the ice-free period, bacterial production measured as [14C]leucine uptake showed a bell-shaped relation to CH4 concentration. The highest production was found in the metalimnion at CH4 concentrations ranging from 5 to 10 mmol m-3. During summer stratification, net production of methanotrophs corresponded to 23-47% of total bacterial production, but during the autumn turnover, this proportion was higher (27-81%), indicating that methanotrophs offer a potentially significant source of carbon to zooplankton in stratified humic lakes.

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