Lake characteristics influence how methanogens in littoral sediments respond to terrestrial litter inputs


Shallow lake sediments harbor methanogen communities that are responsible for large amounts of CH 4 flux to the atmosphere. These communities play a major role in degrading in-fluxed terrestrial organic matter (t-OM)—much of which settles in shallow near-shore sediments. Little work has examined how sediment methanogens are affected by the quantity and quality of t-OM, and the physicochemical factors that shape their community. Here, we filled mesocosms with artificial lake sediments amended with different ratios and concentrations of coniferous and deciduous tree litter. We installed them in three boreal lakes near Sudbury, Canada that varied in trophic status and water clarity. We found that higher endogenous nutrient concentrations led to greater CH 4 production when sediment solar irradiance was similar, but high irradiance of sediments also led to higher CH 4 concentrations regardless of nutrient …

The ISME Journal
Erik Emilson
Erik Emilson
Research Scientist, Watershed Ecology Team Lead, Associate Editor CJFR

I am interested in how forests support freshwater ecosystem services. My research combines microbial and molecular approaches to undertand how forest productivity and disturbances affect ecosystem functions in headwater streams and lakes.