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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Vertical stratification of bacteria and archaea in sediments of a small boreal humic lake

Rissanen, Antti J.; Peura, Sari; Mpamah, Promise A.; Taipale, Sami; Tiirola, Marja; Biasi, Christina; Maki, Anita; Nykanen, Hannu


Although sediments of small boreal humic lakes are important carbon stores and greenhouse gas sources, the composition and structuring mechanisms of their microbial communities have remained understudied. We analyzed the vertical profiles of microbial biomass indicators (PLFAs, DNA and RNA) and the bacterial and archaeal community composition (sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons and qPCR of mcrA) in sediment cores collected from a typical small boreal lake. While microbial biomass decreased with sediment depth, viable microbes (RNA and PLFA) were present all through the profiles. The vertical stratification patterns of the bacterial and archaeal communities resembled those in marine sediments with well-characterized groups (e.g. Methanomicrobia, Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes) dominating in the surface sediment and being replaced by poorly-known groups (e.g. Bathyarchaeota, Aminicenantes and Caldiserica) in the deeper layers. The results also suggested that, similar to marine systems, the deep bacterial and archaeal communities were predominantly assembled by selective survival of taxa able to persist in the low energy conditions. Methanotrophs were rare, further corroborating the role of these methanogen-rich sediments as important methane emitters. Based on their taxonomy, the deep-dwelling groups were putatively organo-heterotrophic, organo-autotrophic and/or acetogenic and thus may contribute to changes in the lake sediment carbon storage.


lake; sediment; bacteria; archaea; 16S rRNA; biomass

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FEMS Microbiology Letters
2019, Volume: 366, number: 5, article number: fnz044

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