Comparison of Two Techniques to Calculate Methane Oxidation rates in Samples Obtained From the Hudson Canyon Seep Field in the North Atlantic

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mihai Leonte1, John D Kessler1, Alexandre Chepigin1, Matthias Y Kellermann2, Eleanor Arrington2, David L Valentine2 and Sean Sylva3, (1)University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, United States, (2)University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States, (3)Woods Hole Science Center Woods Hole, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Aerobic methane oxidation, or methanotrophy, is the dominant process by which methane is removed from the water column in oceanic environments. Therefore, accurately quantifying methane oxidation rates is crucial when constructing methane budgets on a local or global scale. Here we present a comparison of two techniques used to determine methane oxidation rates based on samples obtained over the Hudson Canyon seep field in the North Atlantic. Traditional methane oxidation rate measurements require inoculation of water samples with isotopically labeled methane and tracking the changes to methane concentrations and isotopes as the samples are incubated. However, the addition of methane above background levels is thought to increase the potential for methane oxidation in the sample. A new technique to calculate methane oxidation rates is based on kinetic isotope models and incorporates direct measurements of methane concentrations, methane 13C isotopes, and water current velocity. Acoustic instrumentation (ADCP) aboard the R/V Endeavor was used to obtain water current velocity data while water samples were collected for methane concentration and isotopic ratio analysis. Methane δ13C measurements allow us to attribute changes in methane concentration to either water dispersion or bacterial methane oxidation. The data obtained from this cruise will tell us a comprehensive story of methane removal processes from this active seep field. The kinetic isotope models will allow us to estimate the total flux of methane from the seep site and calculate methane oxidation rates at different depths and locations away from seafloor plumes.