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Variation in methanotroph-related proxies in peat deposits from Misten Bog, Hautes-Fagnes, Belgium

Abstract : Methane emissions from peat bogs are strongly reduced by aerobic methane oxidising bacteria (methanotrophs) living in association with Sphagnum spp. Field studies and laboratory experiments have revealed that, with increasing water level and temperature, methanotrophic activity increases. To gain a better understanding of how longer term changes in methanotrophic activity are reflected in methanotroph biomarkers, a peat record (0-100 cm) from the Hautes-Fagnes (Belgium) encompassing the past 1500 years, was analysed for methanotroph-specific intact bacteriohopanepolyols (BHPs) and the carbon isotopic composition of diploptene. A predominance of aminobacteriohopanetetrol (aminotetrol) over aminobacteriohopanepentol (aminopentol) indicated the prevalence of type II methanotrophs. Relatively high methanotrophic activity was indicated by all methanotroph markers between 20 and 45 cm depth, around the present oxic-anoxic boundary, most likely representing the currently active methanotrophic community. Comparing methanotrophic markers in the deeper part of the peat profile with environmental variables afforded, however, no clear correlation between change in water level and methanotrophic activity. This is potentially caused by a predominance of type II methanotrophs, a combination of sources for methanotrophic biomarkers or insufficient variation in climatic changes. A proposed way forward would include a study of a core covering a longer timescale, thereby involving greater variability.
Keywords : Metanotroph Peat Misten
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Julia F. van Winden, Helen M. Talbot, François de Vleeschouwer, Gert-Jan Reichart, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté. Variation in methanotroph-related proxies in peat deposits from Misten Bog, Hautes-Fagnes, Belgium. Organic Geochemistry, Elsevier, 2012, vol. 53, pp. 73-79. ⟨10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.07.001⟩. ⟨hal-00984977⟩

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