AME 76:39-47 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01766

Comparative study on bacterial carbon sources in lake sediments: the role of methanotrophy

K. Steger1, K. Premke2,3, C. Gudasz1, H. T. S. Boschker4, L. J. Tranvik1,* 

1Department of Ecology and Genetics / Limnology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18 D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
2Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Müggelseedamm 301, 12587 Berlin, Germany
3Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalderstr. 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
4Marine Microbiology, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Korringaweg 7, 4401 NT Yerseke, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Methane-derived carbon can be important in both benthic and pelagic food webs. Either generated in the anaerobic layers of the sediment or in the anaerobic hypolimnion of stratified eutrophic lakes, methane is an excellent carbon source for aerobic methanotrophic bacteria. The very negative methane δ13C-signal in the methanotrophic biomass provides an excellent opportunity to trace the use of methane-derived carbon in food webs. We studied carbon sources of benthic bacteria in a range of Swedish lakes with different inputs of terrestrial organic carbon and indigenous primary production. We analyzed the 13C:12C ratios in phospholipid-derived fatty acids, which serve as biomarkers for specific groups of Bacteria. We demonstrate that methane is an important carbon source for sediment bacteria, not only for the methanotrophic community but also for the non-methanotrophic heterotrophic bacteria. This most likely indirect utilization of isotopically highly depleted methane masks the stable isotope signatures for terrestrial input and local primary production in the heterotrophic bacterial community.


KEY WORDS: Benthic microbes · Boreal lakes · Methanotrophic bacteria · Phospholipid-derived fatty acid · PLFA · Stable isotopes


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Cite this article as: Steger K, Premke K, Gudasz C, Boschker HTS, Tranvik LJ (2015) Comparative study on bacterial carbon sources in lake sediments: the role of methanotrophy. Aquat Microb Ecol 76:39-47. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01766

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