Aspects of denitrification and benzoate degradation were studied in two estuarine microbial mat communities on the California coast by measuring the depth distributions of potential denitrification rates, genetic potential for denitrification, nitrate concentration, benzoate mineralization rates, total bacterial abundance, and abundance of a denitrifying strain (TBD-8b) isolated from one of the sites. Potential denitrification was detected in microbial mat cores from both Elkhorn Slough and Tomales Bay. Maximum denitrification rates were more than two orders of magnitude higher at Elkhorn Slough (3.14 mmol N m-2 d-1) than at Tomales Bay (0.02 mmol N m-2 d-1), and at both sites, the maximum rates occurred in the 0-2 mm depth interval. Ambient pore [NO3 + NO2] was substantially higher at Elkhorn Slough than at Tomales Bay. Incorporation and mineralization of benzoate was maximal near the mat surface at Elkhorn Slough. The areal rate of benzoate utilization was 1045 nmol C m-2 d-1, which represented utilization of 70% of the added substrate in 24 h. Total bacterial and TBD-8b abundances were greatest near the surface at both Tomales Bay and Elkhorn Slough, and TBD-8b represented less than 0.2% of the total. Genetic potential for denitrification, quantified by hybridization with a nitrite reductase gene fragment, was present below the mat surface at average levels representing presence of the gene in approximately 10% of the total cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science