Articles | Volume 12, issue 24
Research article
21 Dec 2015
Research article |  | 21 Dec 2015

Nitrogen cycling in the deep sedimentary biosphere: nitrate isotopes in porewaters underlying the oligotrophic North Atlantic

S. D. Wankel, C. Buchwald, W. Ziebis, C. B. Wenk, and M. F. Lehmann

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Cited articles

Altabet, M. A.: Variations in nitrogen isotopic compostion between sinking and suspended particles: Implications for nitrogen cycling and particle transformations in the open ocean, Deep-Sea Re. Pt. I, 35, 535–554, 1988.
Altabet, M. A.: A time-series study of the vertical structure of nitrogen and particle dynamics in the Sargasso Sea, Limnol. Oceanogr., 34, 1185–1201, 1989.
Altabet, M. A., Pilskaln, C., Thunell, R. C., Pride, C., Sigman, D. M., Chavez, F. P., and Francois, R.: The nitrogen isotope biogeochemistry of sinking particles from the margin of the Eastern North Pacific, Deep-Sea Res. Pt. I, 46, 655–679, 1999.
Andersson, K. K. and Hooper, A. B.: O2 and H2O are each the source of one O in NO2 produced from NH3 by Nitrosomonas: 15N-NMR evidence, FEBS Lett., 164, 236–240, 1983.
Barford, C. C., Montoya, J. P., Atlabet, M. A., and Mitchell, R.: Steady-state Nitrogen Isotope Effects of N2 and N2O Production in Paracoccus denitrificans, Appl. Environ. Microb., 65, 989–994, 1999.
Short summary
In the sediments underlying the global oligotrophic ocean, low levels of microbial activity persist, despite low input of organic matter from surface ocean productivity. Using measured nitrogen and oxygen isotopes of porewater nitrate we estimate the magnitude and extent of microbial nitrogen cycling. We find evidence for the overlap of both denitrification as well as autotrophic pathways such as nitrification and nitrogen fixation, pointing to a relatively large role for subsurface autotrophy.
Final-revised paper