Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies


The hyporheic zone (HZ) is the active ecotone between the surface stream and groundwater, where exchanges of nutrients and organic carbon have been shown to stimulate microbial activity and transformations of carbon and nitrogen. To examine the relationship between sediment texture, biogeochemistry, and biological activity in the Columbia River HZ, the grain size distributions for sediment samples were characterized to define geological facies, and the relationships among physical properties of the facies, physicochemical attributes of the local environment, and the structure and activity of associated microbial communities were examined. Mud and sand content and the presence of microbial heterotrophic and nitrifying communities partially explained the variability in many biogeochemical attributes such as C:N ratio and %TOC. Microbial community analysis revealed a high relative abundance of putative ammonia-oxidizing Thaumarchaeota and nitrite-oxidizing Nitrospirae. Network analysis showed negative relationships between sets of co-varying organisms and sand and mud contents, and positive relationships with total organic carbon. Our results indicate grain size distribution is a good predictor of biogeochemical properties, and that subsets of the overall microbial community respond to different sediment texture. Relationships between facies and hydrobiogeochemical properties enable facies-based conditional simulation/mapping of these properties to inform multiscale modeling of hyporheic exchange and biogeochemical processes.

Hou, Z. et al. “Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies.’  Scientific Reports  7 (2017): 12006.  PMC. Web. 8 Feb. 2018.

This paper presents an interesting perspective on how microbes can function in different types of sediments.

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