The Effect of Sedimentation Conditions of Frozen Deposits at the Kolyma Lowland on the Distribution of Methane and Microorganisms Activity

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Viktoriya Oshurkova1, Alexander L Kholodov2, Valentin Spektor3, Viktoria Sherbakova1 and Elizaveta Rivkina4, (1)Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Pushchino, Russia, (2)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (3)Melnikov Permafrost Institute SB RAS, Yakutsk, Russia, (4)Institute of Physical Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science, Pushchino, Russia
Biogeochemical and microbiological investigations of methane distribution and origin in Northeastern Arctic permafrost sediments indicated that microbial methane production was observed in situ in thawed and permanently frozen deposits (Rivkina et al., 2007). To check the hypothesis about the correlation between permafrost ground type and quantity of methane, produced by microorganisms, the samples from deposits of thermokarst depression (alas), Yedoma and fluvial deposits of Kolyma floodplain for gas measurements and microbiological study were collected and the experiment with anaerobic incubation was conducted.

Gas analysis indicated that alas and floodplain samples were characterized by high methane concentrations whereas Yedoma samples had only traces of methane. Two media with different substrates were prepared anaerobically for incubation. First medium contained sucrose as a substrate for hydrolytic microflora and the second one contained acetate as a substrate for methanogens. Two samples from alas, one sample from Yedoma and one from floodplain were placed in anaerobic bottles and media under gas mixture (N2, CO2 and H2) were added. The bottles were incubated for 2 weeks at room temperature. The results of the experiment showed that there was the increase of methane concentrations in the bottles with Yedoma and Floodplain samples to 52-60 and 67-90 %, respectively, from initial concentrations in contrast with Alas sample inoculated bottles. At the same time the concentration of methane in control bottles, which did not include substrates, increased to 15-19%.

Current research is a part of NSF funded project “The Polaris”.