Microbial oxidation as a methane sink beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet


"Aquatic habitats beneath ice masses contain active microbial ecosystems capable of cycling important greenhouse gases, such as methane (CH4). A large methane reservoir is thought to exist beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but its quantity, source and ultimate fate are poorly understood. For instance, O2 supplied by basal melting should result in conditions favourable for aerobic methane oxidation. Here we use measurements of methane concentrations and stable isotope compositions along with genomic analyses to assess the sources and cycling of methane in Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW) in West Antarctica. [...]"

Source: Nature Geoscience
Authors: Alexander B. Michaud et al.
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2992

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Effects of low oxygen concentrations on aerobic methane oxidation in seasonally hypoxic coastal waters


"Coastal seas may account for more than 75 % of global oceanic methane emissions. There, methane is mainly produced microbially in anoxic sediments from which it can escape to the overlying water column. Aerobic methane oxidation (MOx) in the water column acts as a biological filter, reducing the amount of methane that eventually evades to the atmosphere. The efficiency of the MOx filter is potentially controlled by the availability of dissolved methane and oxygen, as well as temperature, salinity, and hydrographic dynamics, and all of these factors undergo strong temporal fluctuations in coastal ecosystems. [...]"

Source: Biogeosciences 14
Authors: Lea Steinle et al.
DOI: 10.5194/bg-14-1631-2017

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