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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 702:19-38 (2022)  -  DOI:

Microbial-driven impact on aquatic phosphate fluxes in a coastal peatland

Simeon Choo1,2,*, Olaf Dellwig3, Janine Wäge-Recchioni1, Heide N. Schulz-Vogt1,2

1Department of Biological Oceanography, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, 18119 Rostock, Germany
2Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Rostock, 18059 Rostock, Germany
3Department of Marine Geology, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, 18119 Rostock, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Polyphosphate-accumulating microbial mats can influence PO43- concentration in the benthic zone. To investigate the role of microbial mats in benthic P cycling, short peat cores including supernatant water from a coastal fen in NE Germany (southern Baltic Sea) were incubated in winter, summer and fall under 3 conditions: in situ, elevated temperature and oxygen-depletion. Bottom water PO43- concentrations decreased in treatments where a microbial mat had formed (summer and winter) but not in the mat-deficient fall treatment. The mats were densely populated with polyphosphate-rich Lyngbya sp. filaments. On the last day of incubation, PO43- concentrations in the oxygen-depleted bottom water were lower in the winter (70×) and summer (44×) than in the fall treatment, demonstrating the significant effect of microbial mats on PO43- fluxes, even under oxygen-depleted conditions. Mean polyphosphate-P content in the upper 1 cm peat layer of 8 freshly collected winter cores was 2.23 µmol g-1 (5% of total P), comprising a noticeable percentage of the P reservoir. Low sediment Fe:P molar ratios among the cores (5.9-6.3) indicated that P-adsorption sites in Fe-P compounds were fairly saturated and had limited efficiency in precipitating additional bottom water PO43-. Using known temperature-dependent coefficients for biological systems, we estimate that bottom water PO43- concentrations in temperature-elevated cores were reduced by 96% in the presence of a microbial mat. We propose that a microbial mat can take up a large amount of dissolved inorganic P, highlighting its regulatory role in coastal peatland P fluxes under varying environmental conditions.

KEY WORDS: Polyphosphate · Lyngbya spp. · Microbial mat · Benthic · Phosphorus cycling · PolyP-accumulating bacteria · Baltic Sea · Cyanobacteria

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Cite this article as: Choo S, Dellwig O, Wäge-Recchioni J, Schulz-Vogt HN (2022) Microbial-driven impact on aquatic phosphate fluxes in a coastal peatland. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 702:19-38.

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