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  1. Abstract

    Nitrite is a pivotal component of the marine nitrogen cycle. The fate of nitrite determines the loss or retention of fixed nitrogen, an essential nutrient for all organisms. Loss occurs via anaerobic nitrite reduction to gases during denitrification and anammox, while retention occurs via nitrite oxidation to nitrate. Nitrite oxidation is usually represented in biogeochemical models by one kinetic parameter and one oxygen threshold, below which nitrite oxidation is set to zero. Here we find that the responses of nitrite oxidation to nitrite and oxygen concentrations vary along a redox gradient in a Pacific Ocean oxygen minimum zone, indicating niche differentiation of nitrite-oxidizing assemblages. Notably, we observe the full inhibition of nitrite oxidation by oxygen addition and nitrite oxidation coupled with nitrogen loss in the absence of oxygen consumption in samples collected from anoxic waters. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, including novel clades with high relative abundance in anoxic depths, were also detected in the same samples. Mechanisms corresponding to niche differentiation of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria across the redox gradient are considered. Implementing these mechanisms in biogeochemical models has a significant effect on the estimated fixed nitrogen budget.

  2. Abstract Nitrous oxide (N 2 O) is important to the global radiative budget of the atmosphere and contributes to the depletion of stratospheric ozone. Globally the ocean represents a large net flux of N 2 O to the atmosphere but the direction of this flux varies regionally. Our understanding of N 2 O production and consumption processes in the ocean remains incomplete. Traditional understanding tells us that anaerobic denitrification, the reduction of NO 3 − to N 2 with N 2 O as an intermediate step, is the sole biological means of reducing N 2 O, a process known to occur in anoxic environments only. Here we present experimental evidence of N 2 O removal under fully oxygenated conditions, coupled with observations of bacterial communities with novel, atypical gene sequences for N 2 O reduction. The focus of this work was on the high latitude Atlantic Ocean where we show bacterial consumption sufficient to account for oceanic N 2 O depletion and the occurrence of regional sinks for atmospheric N 2 O.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. Abstract Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) are unique marine regions where broad redox gradients stimulate biogeochemical cycles. Despite the important and unique role of OMZ microbes in these cycles, they are less characterized than microbes from the oxic ocean. Here we recovered 39 high- and medium-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from the Eastern Tropical South Pacific OMZ. More than half of these MAGs were not represented at the species level among 2631 MAGs from global marine datasets. OMZ MAGs were dominated by denitrifiers catalyzing nitrogen loss and especially MAGs with partial denitrification metabolism. A novel bacterial genome with nitrate-reducing potential could only be assigned to the phylum level. A Marine-Group II archaeon was found to be a versatile denitrifier, with the potential capability to respire multiple nitrogen compounds including N 2 O. The newly discovered denitrifying MAGs will improve our understanding of microbial adaptation strategies and the evolution of denitrification in the tree of life.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  4. Abstract The ocean is a net source of N 2 O, a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting agent. However, the removal of N 2 O via microbial N 2 O consumption is poorly constrained and rate measurements have been restricted to anoxic waters. Here we expand N 2 O consumption measurements from anoxic zones to the sharp oxygen gradient above them, and experimentally determine kinetic parameters in both oxic and anoxic seawater for the first time. We find that the substrate affinity, O 2 tolerance, and community composition of N 2 O-consuming microbes in oxic waters differ from those in the underlying anoxic layers. Kinetic parameters determined here are used to model in situ N 2 O production and consumption rates. Estimated in situ rates differ from measured rates, confirming the necessity to consider kinetics when predicting N 2 O cycling. Microbes from the oxic layer consume N 2 O under anoxic conditions at a much faster rate than microbes from anoxic zones. These experimental results are in keeping with model results which indicate that N 2 O consumption likely takes place above the oxygen deficient zone (ODZ). Thus, the dynamic layer with steep O 2 and N 2 Omore »gradients right above the ODZ is a previously ignored potential gatekeeper of N 2 O and should be accounted for in the marine N 2 O budget.« less
  5. Abstract. Oxygen-deficient zones (ODZs) are major sites of net naturalnitrous oxide (N2O) production and emissions. In order to understandchanges in the magnitude of N2O production in response to globalchange, knowledge on the individual contributions of the major microbialpathways (nitrification and denitrification) to N2O production andtheir regulation is needed. In the ODZ in the coastal area off Peru, thesensitivity of N2O production to oxygen and organic matter wasinvestigated using 15N tracer experiments in combination with quantitative PCR (qPCR) andmicroarray analysis of total and active functional genes targeting archaeal amoAand nirS as marker genes for nitrification and denitrification, respectively.Denitrification was responsible for the highest N2O production with amean of 8.7 nmol L−1 d−1 but up to 118±27.8 nmol L−1 d−1 just below the oxic–anoxic interface. The highest N2O productionfrom ammonium oxidation (AO) of 0.16±0.003 nmol L−1 d−1occurred in the upper oxycline at O2 concentrations of 10–30 µmol L−1 which coincided with the highest archaeal amoA transcripts/genes.Hybrid N2O formation (i.e., N2O with one N atom from NH4+and the other from other substrates such as NO2-) was the dominantspecies, comprising 70 %–85 % of total produced N2O fromNH4+, regardless of the ammonium oxidation rate or O2concentrations. Oxygen responses of N2O production varied withsubstrate, but production and yields were generally highest below 10 µmol L−1 O2. Particulate organic matter additions increasedN2Omore »production by denitrification up to 5-fold, suggesting increasedN2O production during times of high particulate organic matter export.High N2O yields of 2.1 % from AO were measured, but the overallcontribution by AO to N2O production was still an order of magnitudelower than that of denitrification. Hence, these findings show thatdenitrification is the most important N2O production process in low-oxygen conditions fueled by organic carbon supply, which implies a positivefeedback of the total oceanic N2O sources in response to increasingoceanic deoxygenation.« less