Annual nitrification dynamics in a seasonally ice-covered lake

Abstract : We investigated the variability in ammonia oxidation (AO) rates and the presence of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria (AOB and AOA) over an annual cycle in the water column of a small, seasonnally ice covered, temperate shield lake. AO, the first step of nitrification, was measured in situ using 15N-labelled ammonium (NH4 +) at 1% and 10% of photosynthetic active radiation during day and at the same depths during night. AO was active across seasons and light levels, ranging from undetectable to 333 nmol L-1 d-1 with peak activity in winter under ice cover. NH4 + concentration was the single most important positive predictor of AO rates. High NH4 + concentrations and reduced chlorophyll a concentrations under ice, which favoured AO, were coherent with high nitrate concentrations and super saturation in nitrous oxide. When targeting the ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) gene in samples from the photic zone, we found AOA to be omnipresent throughout the year while AOB were observed predominantly during winter. Our results demonstrate that AO is an ongoing process in sunlit surface waters of temperate lakes and at all seasons with pronounced nitrification activity observed during winter under ice. The combination of high NH4 + concentrations due to fall overturn, reduced light availability that limited phytoplankton competition, and the presence of AOB together with AOA apparently favoured these elevated rates under ice. We suggest that lake ice could be a control point for nitrification in oligotrophic temperate shield lakes, characterized as a moment and place that exerts disproportionate influence on the biogeochemical behaviour of ecosystems.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 25, 2019 - 10:11:29 AM
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Stéphanie Massé, Morgan Botrel, David Walsh, Roxane Maranger. Annual nitrification dynamics in a seasonally ice-covered lake. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2019, 14 (3), pp.e0213748. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0213748⟩. ⟨hal-02078166⟩



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