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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Phosphorus Regulation of Methane Oxidation in Water From Ice-Covered Lakes

Sawakuchi, Henrique O.; Martin, Gaetan; Peura, Sari; Bertilsson, Stefan; Karlsson, Jan; Bastviken, David


Winter methane (CH4) accumulation in seasonally ice-covered lakes can contribute to large episodic emissions to the atmosphere during spring ice melt. Biological methane oxidation can significantly mitigate such CH4 emissions, but despite favorable CH4 and O-2 concentrations, CH4 oxidation appears constrained in some lakes for unknown reasons. Here we experimentally test the hypothesis that phosphorus (P) availability is limiting CH4 oxidation, resulting in differences in ice-out emissions among lakes. We observed a positive relationship between potential CH4 oxidation and P concentration across 12 studied lakes and found an increase in CH4 oxidation in response to P amendment, without any parallel change in the methanotrophic community composition. Hence, while an increase in sedimentary CH4 production and ebullitive emissions may happen with eutrophication, our study indicates that the increase in P associated with eutrophication may also enhance CH4 oxidation. The increase in CH4 oxidation may hence play an important role in nutrient-rich ice-covered lakes where bubbles trapped under the ice may to a greater extent be oxidized, reducing the ice-out emissions of CH4. This may be an important factor regulating CH4 emissions from high latitude lakes.


CH4 oxidation; phosphorus; methanotrophs; boreal lakes; ice-out CH4 emissions

Published in

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
2021, Volume: 126, number: 9, article number: e2020JG006190