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Title: Evidence for Microbial Mediated NO 3 - Cycling Within Floodplain Sediments During Groundwater Fluctuations

Abstract

The capillary fringe is a subsurface terrestrial-aquatic interface that can be a significant hotspot for biogeochemical cycling of terrestrially derived organic matter and nutrients. However, pathways of nitrogen (N) cycling within this environment are poorly understood, and observations of temporal fluctuations in nitrate (NO 3 -) concentrations lack the necessary resolution to partition between biotic or abiotic mechanisms. At discrete sampling points we measured NO 3 -, nitrite (NO 2 -), ammonium (NH 4 +), gaseous nitrous oxide (N 2O), and nitrogen (N 2), and the corresponding isotopic composition of NO 3 - within floodplain sediments at Rifle, Colorado. Coincident with an annually reoccurring spring/summer excursion in groundwater elevation driven by snowmelt, we observed a rapid decline in NO 3 - followed by transient peaks in NO 2 -, at three depths (2, 2.5, and 3 m) below the ground surface. Isotopic measurements (δ 15N and δ 18O of NO 3 -) suggest an immediate onset of biological N loss at 2 m. At 2.5 and 3 m, NO 3 - concentrations declined initially with no observable isotopic response, indicating dilution of NO 3 - as the NO 3 --deficient groundwater rose, followed by denitrification after prolonged saturation. A simplemore » Rayleigh model further supports this depth-dependent variability in the significance of actively fractionating mechanisms (i.e., NO 3 - reduction) relative to non-fractionating mechanisms (mixing and dilution). NO 3 - reduction was calculated to be responsible for 64% of the NO 3 - decline at 2 m, 28% at 2.5 and 47% at 3 m, respectively. Finally, by accounting for previous molecular and geochemical analysis at this site, and comparing the trajectories between Δδ 18O: Δδ 15N, we conclude that biological NO 3 - consumption at the two deeper and frequently saturated depths (2.5 and 3 m) can be attributed to heterotrophic denitrification. However, the Δδ 18O: Δδ 15N trajectory at the shallower, irregularly saturated site at 2 m shows a more complicated relationship best explained by the cyclic production of NO 3 - via aerobic oxidation, and consumption via NO 3 - reduction.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [1]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Stanford Univ., CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1581352
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC02-05CH11231]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Earth Science
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 7]; Journal ID: ISSN 2296-6463
Publisher:
Frontiers Research Foundation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; nitrate cycling; nitrogen isotopes; subsurface aquifer; terrestrial aquatic interface; microbial modeling

Citation Formats

Bouskill, Nicholas J., Conrad, Mark E., Bill, Markus, Brodie, Eoin L., Cheng, Yiwei, Hobson, Chad, Forbes, Matthew, Casciotti, Karen L., and Williams, Kenneth H. Evidence for Microbial Mediated NO3- Cycling Within Floodplain Sediments During Groundwater Fluctuations. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00189.
Bouskill, Nicholas J., Conrad, Mark E., Bill, Markus, Brodie, Eoin L., Cheng, Yiwei, Hobson, Chad, Forbes, Matthew, Casciotti, Karen L., & Williams, Kenneth H. Evidence for Microbial Mediated NO3- Cycling Within Floodplain Sediments During Groundwater Fluctuations. United States. doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00189.
Bouskill, Nicholas J., Conrad, Mark E., Bill, Markus, Brodie, Eoin L., Cheng, Yiwei, Hobson, Chad, Forbes, Matthew, Casciotti, Karen L., and Williams, Kenneth H. Wed . "Evidence for Microbial Mediated NO3- Cycling Within Floodplain Sediments During Groundwater Fluctuations". United States. doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00189. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1581352.
@article{osti_1581352,
title = {Evidence for Microbial Mediated NO3- Cycling Within Floodplain Sediments During Groundwater Fluctuations},
author = {Bouskill, Nicholas J. and Conrad, Mark E. and Bill, Markus and Brodie, Eoin L. and Cheng, Yiwei and Hobson, Chad and Forbes, Matthew and Casciotti, Karen L. and Williams, Kenneth H.},
abstractNote = {The capillary fringe is a subsurface terrestrial-aquatic interface that can be a significant hotspot for biogeochemical cycling of terrestrially derived organic matter and nutrients. However, pathways of nitrogen (N) cycling within this environment are poorly understood, and observations of temporal fluctuations in nitrate (NO3-) concentrations lack the necessary resolution to partition between biotic or abiotic mechanisms. At discrete sampling points we measured NO3-, nitrite (NO2-), ammonium (NH4+), gaseous nitrous oxide (N2O), and nitrogen (N2), and the corresponding isotopic composition of NO3- within floodplain sediments at Rifle, Colorado. Coincident with an annually reoccurring spring/summer excursion in groundwater elevation driven by snowmelt, we observed a rapid decline in NO3- followed by transient peaks in NO2-, at three depths (2, 2.5, and 3 m) below the ground surface. Isotopic measurements (δ15N and δ18O of NO3-) suggest an immediate onset of biological N loss at 2 m. At 2.5 and 3 m, NO3- concentrations declined initially with no observable isotopic response, indicating dilution of NO3- as the NO3--deficient groundwater rose, followed by denitrification after prolonged saturation. A simple Rayleigh model further supports this depth-dependent variability in the significance of actively fractionating mechanisms (i.e., NO3- reduction) relative to non-fractionating mechanisms (mixing and dilution). NO3- reduction was calculated to be responsible for 64% of the NO3- decline at 2 m, 28% at 2.5 and 47% at 3 m, respectively. Finally, by accounting for previous molecular and geochemical analysis at this site, and comparing the trajectories between Δδ18O: Δδ15N, we conclude that biological NO3- consumption at the two deeper and frequently saturated depths (2.5 and 3 m) can be attributed to heterotrophic denitrification. However, the Δδ18O: Δδ15N trajectory at the shallower, irregularly saturated site at 2 m shows a more complicated relationship best explained by the cyclic production of NO3- via aerobic oxidation, and consumption via NO3- reduction.},
doi = {10.3389/feart.2019.00189},
journal = {Frontiers in Earth Science},
number = ,
volume = [7],
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

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