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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 131:263-273 (1996)  -  doi:10.3354/meps131263

Methane dynamics in the sediment and water column of Kiel Harbour (Baltic Sea)

Schmaljohann R

The dynamics of methane production and oxidation in the sediments of Kiel Harbour (Baltic Sea) were studied over a period of 2 yr. Experimentally determined rates of methanogenesis varied between 13 and 82 umol CH4 m-2 h-1 integrated over the top 30 cm of sediment. The zone of maximum production was between 20 and 30 cm depth. High potential rates could be induced in sulfate-containing surface layers by the addition of molybdate, acetate or methanol, indicating competition with sulfate-reducing bacteria. The methane content in the sediment pore water increased from the surface to a seasonally varying depth of between 5 and 20 cm, where sulfate concentrations approached zero and methane concentrations of 3 to 4 mM were recorded. Aerobic methane oxidation rates in the surface sediment layer were in most cases higher than the methane flux expected to reach the sediment surface. Oxygen-depleted or anoxic conditions in the deep water, which frequently occurred during stratification periods in summer, resulted in methane gradients with increasing concentrations from the chemocline to the sediment. After recirculation of the water column in autumn in both years, unexpectedly high methane concentrations were also measured in the oxic water column of Kiel Harbour. This coincided with very reduced conditions in the surface sediment that allowed measurable methane production in the 0 to 10 cm layer.

Methane . Methanogenesis . Methane oxidation . Flux rates . Sediment . Baltic Sea

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