Methanotrophic and Methanogenic Communities in Swiss Alpine Fens Dominated by Carex rostrata and Eriophorum angustifolium.

Applied and environmental microbiology

PubMedID: 26092454

Cheema S, Zeyer J, Henneberger R. Methanotrophic and Methanogenic Communities in Swiss Alpine Fens Dominated by Carex rostrata and Eriophorum angustifolium. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015;.
Vascular plants play a key role in controlling CH4 emissions from natural wetlands, because they influence CH4 production, oxidation, and transport to the atmosphere. Here we investigated differences in the abundance and composition of methanotrophic and methanogenic communities in three Swiss alpine fens dominated by different vascular plant species under natural conditions. The sampling locations either were situated at geographically distinct sites with different physicochemical properties but the same dominant plant species (Carex rostrata) or were located within the same site, showing comparable physicochemical pore water properties, but had different plant species (C. rostrata or Eriophorum angustifolium). All three locations were permanently submerged and showed high levels of CH4 emissions (80. 3 to 184. 4 mg CH4 m(-2) day(-1)). Soil samples were collected from three different depths with different pore water CH4 and O2 concentrations and were analyzed for pmoA and mcrA gene and transcript abundance and community composition, as well as soil structure. The dominant plant species appeared to have a significant influence on the composition of the active methanotrophic communities (transcript level), while the methanogenic communities differed significantly only at the gene level. Yet no plant species-specific microbial taxa were discerned. Moreover, for all communities, differences in composition were more pronounced with the site (i. e. , with different physicochemical properties) than with the plant species. Moreover, depth significantly influenced the composition of the active methanotrophic communities. Differences in abundance were generally low, and active methanotrophs and methanogens coexisted at all three locations and depths independently of CH4 and O2 concentrations or plant species.