Methane and aerobic methanotrophic bacteria in shallow waters and sediments
The aims and objectives of my group are microbiological and geochemical studies related to aerobic methane consumption in the water columns and sediments. We characterise natural environments (e.g. lakes and coastal waters) with respect to their importance as methane sink and source and analyse the temporal and spatial distribution and dynamics of methane production, emission and ebullition. Based on these ground truthing assessments, we experimentally test the potential and the limitations of aerobic methanotrophic bacteria living in these environments mainly in vertical gradients in the sediment (Fig. 1) and in the above water column.
Using high-tech GC technology and different methane isotopes, we measure methanotrophic activities and quantify the methane dynamics. In the lab, we additionally cultivate methane oxidizing bacteria and conduct eco-physiological experiments.
Our research area reaches from freshwater methane seepage, to boreal and polar estuaries (Fig. 2), i.e. Lake Constance, Weser-Estuary with North Sea and Lena-Delta with Laptev Sea. From these different geographic settings we want to compare the eco-physiological characteristics of the methane oxidizing bacteria.
In cooperation with the “Food web” project the role of methanotrophic bacteria for higher trophic levels shall be also assessed by isotopic analysis of methane, methanotrophic bacteria and bacterial grazers.
In cooperation with the “Molecular Ecology” and “Geomicrobiology” group the different methanotrophic communities and isolates will be characterized on a molecular level.
Association in PACES: Topic 1 W5 & Topic 2 W1