Stark Contrast in Denitrification and Anammox across the Deep Norwegian Trench in the Skagerrak
Journal article, 2013
Environmental anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) was demonstrated for the first time in 2002, using N-15 labeling, in homogenized sediment from the Skagerrak, where it accounted for up to 67% of N-2 production. We returned to some of these original sites in 2010 to make measurements of nitrogen and carbon cycling under conditions more representative of those in situ, quantifying anammox and denitrification, together with oxygen penetration and consumption, in intact sediment cores. Overall, oxygen consumption and N-2 production decayed with water depth, as expected, but the drop in N-2 production was relatively more pronounced. Whereas we confirmed the dominance of N-2 production by anammox (72% and 77%) at the two deepest sites (similar to 700 m of water), anammox was conspicuously absent from two shallower sites (similar to 200 m and 400 m). At the shallower sites, we could measure no anammox activity with either intact or homogeneous sediment, and quantitative PCR (16S rRNA) gave a negligible abundance of anammox bacteria in the anoxic layers. Such an absence of anammox, especially at one locale where it was originally demonstrated, is hard to reconcile. Despite the dominance of anammox at the deepest sites, anammox activity could not make up for the drop in denitrification, and assuming Redfield ratios for the organic matter being mineralized, the estimated retention of fixed N actually increased to 90% to 97% of that mineralized, whereas it was 80% to 86% at the shallower sites.
ANAEROBIC AMMONIUM OXIDATION
INTACT SEDIMENT CORES