skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies

Abstract

The hyporheic zone (HZ) is the active ecotone between the surface stream and groundwater, where exchanges of water, nutrients, and organic matter occur in response to variations in discharge and riverbed properties. Within this region, a confluence of surface-derived organic carbon and subsurface nitrogen (in the form of nitrate) has been shown to stimulate microbial activity and transformations of carbon and nitrogen species. For example, production of gases such as CO 2, N 2 and N 2O indicate hyporheic zones might have a significant effect on energy and nutrient flows between the atmosphere and the subsurface. Managed and seasonal river stage changes and geomorphology-controlled sediment texture drive water flow within the HZ of the Columbia River. To examine the relationship between sediment texture, biogeochemistry, and biological activity in the HZ, the grain size distributions for sediment samples taken across 320 m of shoreline were characterized to define geological facies, and the relationships among physical properties of the facies, physicochemical attributes of the local environment, and the structure and activity of associated microbial communities were examined. Mud and sand content and the presence of carbon and nitrogen oxidizers were found to explain the variability in many biogeochemical attributes. Microbial community analysismore » revealed a high relative abundance of putative ammonia-oxidizing Thaumarchaeota and nitrite-oxidizing Nitrospirae, together comprising ~20% of the total community across all samples, but scant ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria. Network analysis of operational taxonomic units and the measured geophysical, chemical, and functional parameters showed negative relationships between abundance-based modules of organisms and sand and mud contents, and positive relationships with total organic carbon. The relationships identified in this work indicate grain size distribution is a good predictor of biogeochemical properties, and that subsets of the overall microbial community respond to different sediment texture. Some member populations of these sub-communities appear to respond directly to environmental conditions, while others may be dependent on the function of the first group. For example, nitrification is a strong primary response to the observed conditions, and this activity appears to support a larger heterotrophic community. Relationships between facies and hydrobiogeochemical properties enables facies-based conditional simulation/mapping of these properties to inform multiscale modeling of hyporheic exchange and biogeochemical processes.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [2];  [5]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Energy and Environment Directorate
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Environmental and Biological Sciences Directorate
  3. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Graphic Design
  4. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Environmental and Biological Sciences Directorate; Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Environmental Molecular Sciences Lab. (EMSL)
  5. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Environmental Molecular Sciences Lab. (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1406700
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-121286
Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322; 48473; KP1702030
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Hyporheic Zone; Biogeochemistry; Facies; Microbial Communities; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Citation Formats

Hou, Zhangshuan, Nelson, William C., Stegen, James C., Murray, Christopher J., Arntzen, Evan V., Crump, Alex R., Kennedy, David W., Perkins, M. C., Scheibe, Timothy D., Fredrickson, Jim K., and Zachara, John M. Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12275-w.
Hou, Zhangshuan, Nelson, William C., Stegen, James C., Murray, Christopher J., Arntzen, Evan V., Crump, Alex R., Kennedy, David W., Perkins, M. C., Scheibe, Timothy D., Fredrickson, Jim K., & Zachara, John M. Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies. United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12275-w.
Hou, Zhangshuan, Nelson, William C., Stegen, James C., Murray, Christopher J., Arntzen, Evan V., Crump, Alex R., Kennedy, David W., Perkins, M. C., Scheibe, Timothy D., Fredrickson, Jim K., and Zachara, John M. 2017. "Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies". United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12275-w. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1406700.
@article{osti_1406700,
title = {Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies},
author = {Hou, Zhangshuan and Nelson, William C. and Stegen, James C. and Murray, Christopher J. and Arntzen, Evan V. and Crump, Alex R. and Kennedy, David W. and Perkins, M. C. and Scheibe, Timothy D. and Fredrickson, Jim K. and Zachara, John M.},
abstractNote = {The hyporheic zone (HZ) is the active ecotone between the surface stream and groundwater, where exchanges of water, nutrients, and organic matter occur in response to variations in discharge and riverbed properties. Within this region, a confluence of surface-derived organic carbon and subsurface nitrogen (in the form of nitrate) has been shown to stimulate microbial activity and transformations of carbon and nitrogen species. For example, production of gases such as CO2, N2 and N2O indicate hyporheic zones might have a significant effect on energy and nutrient flows between the atmosphere and the subsurface. Managed and seasonal river stage changes and geomorphology-controlled sediment texture drive water flow within the HZ of the Columbia River. To examine the relationship between sediment texture, biogeochemistry, and biological activity in the HZ, the grain size distributions for sediment samples taken across 320 m of shoreline were characterized to define geological facies, and the relationships among physical properties of the facies, physicochemical attributes of the local environment, and the structure and activity of associated microbial communities were examined. Mud and sand content and the presence of carbon and nitrogen oxidizers were found to explain the variability in many biogeochemical attributes. Microbial community analysis revealed a high relative abundance of putative ammonia-oxidizing Thaumarchaeota and nitrite-oxidizing Nitrospirae, together comprising ~20% of the total community across all samples, but scant ammonia-oxidizing Bacteria. Network analysis of operational taxonomic units and the measured geophysical, chemical, and functional parameters showed negative relationships between abundance-based modules of organisms and sand and mud contents, and positive relationships with total organic carbon. The relationships identified in this work indicate grain size distribution is a good predictor of biogeochemical properties, and that subsets of the overall microbial community respond to different sediment texture. Some member populations of these sub-communities appear to respond directly to environmental conditions, while others may be dependent on the function of the first group. For example, nitrification is a strong primary response to the observed conditions, and this activity appears to support a larger heterotrophic community. Relationships between facies and hydrobiogeochemical properties enables facies-based conditional simulation/mapping of these properties to inform multiscale modeling of hyporheic exchange and biogeochemical processes.},
doi = {10.1038/s41598-017-12275-w},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
number = 1,
volume = 7,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 9
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:
  • Nitrogen (N) transformation in hyporheic zone (HZ) is an important component in N-cycling in ecosystems. A column study was conducted to investigate N transformation in a HZ sediment with a focus on how characteristic HZ properties including water chemistry, fluid residence time, and dynamic groundwater and surface water exchange affect on N transformation. Metagenomic and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analyses were performed to evaluate the dynamic changes in microbial community structure and its function in response to N transformation. The results indicated that N transformation in the HZ sediment was collectively controlled by microbial community functions including: denitrification, dissimilatorymore » nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA), nitrification, and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox). However, the spatial distribution of the microbial community functions and associated biogeochemical reaction rates and products changed quickly in response to experimental perturbation, and was influenced by various factors including water chemistry (dissolved O2 and N species), desorption of sediment associated organic carbon, ion exchange reactions of NH4+, and fluid residence time. The results of this study implied that the microbial community in the HZ would exhibit strong function zonation along N and O gradients, which in turn would control the rates and products of N transformation.« less
  • Microbial abundance and diversity in deep subsurface environments is dependent upon the availability of energy and carbon. However, supplies of oxidants and reductants capable of sustaining life within mafic and ultramafic continental aquifers undergoing low-temperature water-rock reaction are relatively unknown. We conducted an extensive analysis of the geochemistry and microbial communities recovered from fluids sampled from boreholes hosted in peridotite and gabbro in the Tayin block of the Samail Ophiolite in the Sultanate of Oman. The geochemical compositions of subsurface fluids in the ophiolite are highly variable, reflecting differences in host rock composition and the extent of fluid-rock interaction. Principal component analysis of fluid geochemistry and geologic context indicate the presence of at least four fluid types in the Samail Ophiolite (“gabbro,” “alkaline peridotite,” “hyperalkaline peridotite,” and “gabbro/peridotite contact”) that vary strongly in pH and the concentrations of H 2, CH 4, Ca 2+, Mg 2+, NO 3 more » $-$, SO$$2-\atop{4}$$, trace metals, and DIC. Geochemistry of fluids is strongly correlated with microbial community composition; similar microbial assemblages group according to fluid type. Hyperalkaline fluids exhibit low diversity and are dominated by taxa related to the Deinococcus-Thermus genus Meiothermus, candidate phyla OP1, and the family Thermodesulfovibrionaceae. Gabbro- and alkaline peridotite- aquifers harbor more diverse communities and contain abundant microbial taxa affiliated with Nitrospira, Nitrosospharaceae, OP3, Parvarcheota, and OP1 order Acetothermales. Wells that sit at the contact between gabbro and peridotite host microbial communities distinct from all other fluid types, with an enrichment in betaproteobacterial taxa. Together the taxonomic information and geochemical data suggest that several metabolisms may be operative in subsurface fluids, including methanogenesis, acetogenesis, and fermentation, as well as the oxidation of methane, hydrogen and small molecular weight organic acids utilizing nitrate and sulfate as electron acceptors. Dynamic nitrogen cycling may be especially prevalent in gabbro and alkaline peridotite fluids. As a result, these data suggest water-rock reaction, as controlled by lithology and hydrogeology, constrains the distribution of life in terrestrial ophiolites.« less
  • The Yellowstone caldera contains the most numerous and diverse geothermal systems on Earth, yielding an extensive array of unique high-temperature environments that host numerous deeply-rooted and understudied Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. The combination of extreme temperature and chemical conditions encountered in geothermal environments often results in considerably less microbial diversity than other terrestrial habitats and offers a tremendous opportunity for studying the structure and function of indigenous microbial communities and for establishing linkages between putative metabolisms and element cycling. Metagenome sequence (14-15,000 Sanger reads per site) was obtained for five high-temperature (> 65 oC) chemotrophic microbial communities sampled from geothermalmore » springs (or pools) in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) that exhibit a wide range in geochemistry including pH, dissolved sulfide, dissolved O2 and ferrous Fe. Metagenome data revealed significant differences in the predominant phyla associated with each of these geochemical environments. Novel members of the Sulfolobales are dominant in low pH environments, while other Crenarchaeota including distantly-related Thermoproteales and Desulfurococcales populations dominate in suboxic sulfidic sediments. Several novel archaeal groups are well represented in an acidic (pH 3) Fe-oxyhydroxide mat, where a higher O2 influx is accompanied with an increase in archaeal diversity. The presence or absence of genes and pathways important in S oxidation-reduction, H2-oxidation, and aerobic respiration (terminal oxidation) provide insight regarding the metabolic strategies of indigenous organisms present in geothermal systems. Multiple-pathway and protein-specific functional analysis of metagenome sequence data corroborated results from phylogenetic analyses and clearly demonstrate major differences in metabolic potential across sites. The distribution of functional genes involved in electron transport is consistent with the hypothesis that geochemical parameters (e.g., pH, sulfide, Fe, O2) control microbial community structure and function in YNP geothermal springs.« less
  • Microbes play a key role in mediating all aquatic biogeochemical cycles, and ongoing efforts are aimed at better understanding the relationships between microbial phylogenetic and physiological diversity, and habitat physical and chemical characteristics. Establishing such relationships is facilitated by sampling and studying microbiology and geochemistry at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales, to access information on the past and current environmental state that contributes to observed microbial abundances and activities. A modest number of sampling systems exist to date, few of which can be used in remote, harsh environments such as hydrothermal vents, where the ephemeral nature of venting underscoresmore » the necessity for higher resolution sampling. We have developed a robust, continuous fluid sampling system for co-registered microbial and biogeochemical analyses. The osmosis-powered bio-osmosampling system (BOSS) use no electricity, collects fluids with daily resolution or better, can be deployed in harsh, inaccessible environments and can sample fluids continuously for up to five years. Here we present a series of tests to examine DNA, RNA and protein stability over time, as well as material compatability, via lab experiments. We also conducted two field deployments at deep-sea hydrothermal vents to assess changes in microbial diversity and protein expression as a function of the physico-chemical environment. Our data reveal significant changes in microbial community composition co-occurring with relatively modest changes in the geochemistry. These data additionally provide new insights into the distribution of an enigmatic sulfur oxidizing symbiont in its free-living state. Data from the second deployment reveal differences in the representation of peptides over time, underscoring the utility of the BOSS in meta-proteomic studies. In concert, these data demonstrate the efficacy of this approach, and illustrate the value of using this method to study microbial and geochemical phenomena.« less