Lehmann Moritz F.

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Moritz F.

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  • Article
    Origin of the deep Bering Sea nitrate deficit : constraints from the nitrogen and oxygen isotopic composition of water column nitrate and benthic nitrate fluxes
    (American Geophysical Union, 2005-10-12) Lehmann, Moritz F. ; Sigman, Daniel M. ; McCorkle, Daniel C. ; Brunelle, Brigitte G. ; Hoffmann, Sharon S. ; Kienast, Markus ; Cane, Greg ; Clement, Jaclyn
    On the basis of the normalization to phosphate, a significant amount of nitrate is missing from the deep Bering Sea (BS). Benthic denitrification has been suggested previously to be the dominant cause for the BS nitrate deficit. We measured water column nitrate 15N/14N and 18O/16O as integrative tracers of microbial denitrification, together with pore water-derived benthic nitrate fluxes in the deep BS basin, in order to gain new constraints on the mechanism of fixed nitrogen loss in the BS. The lack of any nitrate isotope enrichment into the deep part of the BS supports the benthic denitrification hypothesis. On the basis of the nitrate deficit in the water column with respect to the adjacent North Pacific and a radiocarbon-derived ventilation age of ∼50 years, we calculate an average deep BS (>2000 m water depth) sedimentary denitrification rate of ∼230 μmol N m−2 d−1 (or 1.27 Tg N yr−1), more than 3 times higher than high-end estimates of the average global sedimentary denitrification rate for the same depth interval. Pore water-derived estimates of benthic denitrification were variable, and uncertainties in estimates were large. A very high denitrification rate measured from the base of the steep northern slope of the basin suggests that the elevated average sedimentary denitrification rate of the deep Bering calculated from the nitrate deficit is driven by organic matter supply to the base of the continental slope, owing to a combination of high primary productivity in the surface waters along the shelf break and efficient down-slope sediment focusing along the steep continental slopes that characterize the BS.
  • Article
    Unchanged nitrate and nitrite isotope fractionation during heterotrophic and Fe(II)-mixotrophic denitrification suggest a non-enzymatic link between denitrification and Fe(II) oxidation
    (Frontiers Media, 2022-09-02) Visser, Anna-Neva ; Wankel, Scott D. ; Frey, Claudia ; Kappler, Andreas A. ; Lehmann, Moritz F.
    Natural-abundance measurements of nitrate and nitrite (NOx) isotope ratios (δ15N and δ18O) can be a valuable tool to study the biogeochemical fate of NOx species in the environment. A prerequisite for using NOx isotopes in this regard is an understanding of the mechanistic details of isotope fractionation (15ε, 18ε) associated with the biotic and abiotic NOx transformation processes involved (e.g., denitrification). However, possible impacts on isotope fractionation resulting from changing growth conditions during denitrification, different carbon substrates, or simply the presence of compounds that may be involved in NOx reduction as co-substrates [e.g., Fe(II)] remain uncertain. Here we investigated whether the type of organic substrate, i.e., short-chained organic acids, and the presence/absence of Fe(II) (mixotrophic vs. heterotrophic growth conditions) affect N and O isotope fractionation dynamics during nitrate (NO3–) and nitrite (NO2–) reduction in laboratory experiments with three strains of putative nitrate-dependent Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria and one canonical denitrifier. Our results revealed that 15ε and 18ε values obtained for heterotrophic (15ε-NO3–: 17.6 ± 2.8‰, 18ε-NO3–:18.1 ± 2.5‰; 15ε-NO2–: 14.4 ± 3.2‰) vs. mixotrophic (15ε-NO3–: 20.2 ± 1.4‰, 18ε-NO3–: 19.5 ± 1.5‰; 15ε-NO2–: 16.1 ± 1.4‰) growth conditions are very similar and fall within the range previously reported for classical heterotrophic denitrification. Moreover, availability of different short-chain organic acids (succinate vs. acetate), while slightly affecting the NOx reduction dynamics, did not produce distinct differences in N and O isotope effects. N isotope fractionation in abiotic controls, although exhibiting fluctuating results, even expressed transient inverse isotope dynamics (15ε-NO2–: –12.4 ± 1.3 ‰). These findings imply that neither the mechanisms ordaining cellular uptake of short-chain organic acids nor the presence of Fe(II) seem to systematically impact the overall N and O isotope effect during NOx reduction. The similar isotope effects detected during mixotrophic and heterotrophic NOx reduction, as well as the results obtained from the abiotic controls, may not only imply that the enzymatic control of NOx reduction in putative NDFeOx bacteria is decoupled from Fe(II) oxidation, but also that Fe(II) oxidation is indirectly driven by biologically (i.e., via organic compounds) or abiotically (catalysis via reactive surfaces) mediated processes co-occurring during heterotrophic denitrification.