|Coolen, M. J. L., E. C. Hopmans, W. I. C. Rijpstra, G. Muyzer, S. Schouten, J. K. Volkman and J. S. Sinninghe Damsté, Evolution of the methane cycle in Ace Lake (Antarctica) during the Holocene: Response of methanogens and methanotrophs to environmental change, Org. Geochem., 35(10), 1151-1167, 2004|
Post-glacial Ace Lake (Vestfold Hills, Antarctica), which was initially a freshwater lake and then an open marine system, is currently a meromictic basin with anoxic, sulfidic and methane-saturated bottom waters. Lipid and 16S ribosomal RNA gene stratigraphy of up to 10,400-year-old sediment core samples from the lake revealed that these environmentally induced chemical and physical changes caused clear shifts in the species composition of archaea and aerobic methanotrophic bacteria. The combined presence of lipids specific for methanogenic archaea and molecular remains of aerobic methanotrophic bacteria (13C-depleted Δ8(14)-sterols and 16S rRNA genes) revealed that an active methane cycle occurred in Ace Lake during the last 3000 calendar years and that the extant methanotrophs were most likely introduced when it became a marine inlet (9400 y BP); rDNA sequences of known methanogens were only recovered from the oldest sediments deposited during the freshwater phase. The latter sequences showed 100% sequence similarity with Methanosarcinales species from freshwater environments and were the source of sn-2- and sn3-hydroxyarchaeols. Archaeal phylotypes related to uncultivated Archaea associated with various marine environments were recovered from the present-day anoxic water column and sediments deposited during the meromictic and marine period. Full text of article can be viewed here.