Methane related changes in prokaryotic activity along geochemical profiles in sediments of Lake Kinneret (Israel)

I. Bar Or, E. Ben-Dov, A. Kushmaro, W. Eckert, O. Sivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microbial methane oxidation process (methanotrophy) is the primary control on the emission of the greenhouse gas methane (CH4) to the atmosphere. In terrestrial environments, aerobic methanotrophic bacteria are mainly responsible for oxidizing the methane. In marine sediments the coupling of the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) with sulfate reduction, often by a consortium of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) and sulfate reducing bacteria, was found to consume almost all the upward diffusing methane. Recently, we showed geochemical evidence for AOM driven by iron reduction in Lake Kinneret (LK) (Israel) deep sediments and suggested that this process can be an important global methane sink. The goal of the present study was to link the geochemical gradients found in the porewater (chemical and isotope profiles) with possible changes in microbial community structure. Specifically, we examined the possible shift in the microbial community in the deep iron-driven AOM zone and its similarity to known sulfate driven AOM populations. Screening of archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed Thaumarchaeota and Euryarchaeota as the dominant phyla in the sediment. Thaumarchaeota, which belongs to the family of copper containing membrane-bound monooxgenases, increased with depth while Euryarchaeota decreased. This may indicate the involvement of Thaumarchaeota, which were discovered to be ammonia oxidizers but whose activity could also be linked to methane, in AOM in the deep sediment. ANMEs sequences were not found in the clone libraries, suggesting that iron-driven AOM is not through sulfate. Bacterial 16S rRNA sequences displayed shifts in community diversity with depth. Proteobacteria and Chloroflexi increased with depth, which could be connected with their different dissimilatory anaerobic processes. The observed changes in microbial community structure suggest possible direct and indirect mechanisms for iron-driven AOM in deep sediments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9813-9852
JournalBiogeosciences Discussions
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Methane related changes in prokaryotic activity along geochemical profiles in sediments of Lake Kinneret (Israel)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this