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Seasonal dynamics of microbial sulfate reduction in temperate intertidal surface sediments: controls by temperature and organic matter

MPS-Authors
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Al-Raei,  A. M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Bosselmann,  K.
Microbial Habitat Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Böttcher,  M. E.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Hespenheide,  B.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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AlRaei9.pdf
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Citation

Al-Raei, A. M., Bosselmann, K., Böttcher, M. E., Hespenheide, B., & Tauber, F. (2009). Seasonal dynamics of microbial sulfate reduction in temperate intertidal surface sediments: controls by temperature and organic matter. Ocean dynamics, 59(2 Sp. Iss. Sp. Iss. SI), 351-370.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CC5A-5
Abstract
The role of microbial sulfate reduction on organic matter oxidation was studied quantitatively in temperate intertidal surface sediments of the German Wadden Sea (southern North Sea) on a seasonal base in the years 1998–2007. The sampling sites represent the range of sediments found in the back-barrier tidal area of Spiekeroog Island: sands, mixed and muddy flats. The correspondingly different contents in organic matter, metals, and porosities lead to significant differences in the activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria with volumetric sulfate reduction rates (SRR) in the top 15 cm of up to 1.4 μmol cm−3 day−1. Depth-integrated areal SRR ranged between 0.9 and 106 mmol m−2 day−1, with the highest values found in the mudflat sediments and lower rates measured in sands at the same time, demonstrating the impact of both temperature and organic matter load. According to a modeling approach for a 154-km2 large tidal area, about 39, 122, and 285 tons of sulfate are reduced per day, during winter, spring/autumn, and summer, respectively. Hence, the importance of areal benthic organic matter mineralization by microbial sulfate reduction increases during spring/autumn and summer by factors of about 2 and 7, respectively, when compared to winter time. The combined results correspond to an estimated benthic organic carbon mineralization rate via sulfate reduction of 78 g C m−2 year−1.