Similar temperature responses suggest future climate warming will not alter partitioning between denitrification and anammox in temperate marine sediments
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KeywordDenitrification; Anammox; Marine sediment; Climate change; Temperature dependence; Activation energy
Removal of biologically available nitrogen (N) by the microbially mediated processes denitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) affects ecosystem N availability. Although few studies have examined temperature responses of denitrification and anammox, previous work suggests that denitrification could become more important than anammox in response to climate warming. To test this hypothesis, we determined whether temperature responses of denitrification and anammox differed in shelf and estuarine sediments from coastal Rhode Island over a seasonal cycle. The influence of temperature and organic C availability was further assessed in a 12-week laboratory microcosm experiment. Temperature responses, as characterized by thermal optima (Topt) and apparent activation energy (Ea), were determined by measuring potential rates of denitrification and anammox at 31 discrete temperatures ranging from 3 to 59°C. With a few exceptions, Topt and Ea of denitrification and anammox did not differ in Rhode Island sediments over the seasonal cycle. In microcosm sediments, Ea was somewhat lower for anammox compared to denitrification across all treatments. However, Topt did not differ between processes, and neither Ea nor Topt changed with warming or carbon addition. Thus, the two processes behaved similarly in terms of temperature response, and this response was not influenced by warming. This led us to reject the hypothesis that anammox is more cold-adapted than denitrification in our study system. Overall, our study suggests that temperature responses of both processes can be accurately modeled for temperate regions in the future using a single set of parameters, which are likely not to change over the next century as a result of predicted climate warming. We further conclude that climate warming will not directly alter the partitioning of N flow through anammox and denitrification.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of John Wiley & Sons for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Global Change Biology 23 (2017): 331-340, doi:10.1111/gcb.13370.
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