Details zur Publikation

Kategorie Textpublikation
Referenztyp Zeitschriften
DOI 10.5194/bg-19-665-2022
Lizenz creative commons licence
Titel (primär) Predicting the impact of spatial heterogeneity on microbially mediated nutrient cycling in the subsurface
Autor Khurana, S.; Heße, F.; Hildebrandt, A.; Thullner, M.
Quelle Biogeosciences
Erscheinungsjahr 2022
Department CHS; UMB; iDiv
Band/Volume 19
Heft 3
Seite von 665
Seite bis 688
Sprache englisch
Topic T7 Bioeconomy
T5 Future Landscapes
Abstract The subsurface is a temporally dynamic and spatially heterogeneous compartment of the Earth's critical zone, and biogeochemical transformations taking place in this compartment are crucial for the cycling of nutrients. The impact of spatial heterogeneity on such microbially mediated nutrient cycling is not well known, which imposes a severe challenge in the prediction of in situ biogeochemical transformation rates and further of nutrient loading contributed by the groundwater to the surface water bodies. Therefore, we used a numerical modelling approach to evaluate the sensitivity of groundwater microbial biomass distribution and nutrient cycling to spatial heterogeneity in different scenarios accounting for various residence times. The model results gave us an insight into domain characteristics with respect to the presence of oxic niches in predominantly anoxic zones and vice versa depending on the extent of spatial heterogeneity and the flow regime. The obtained results show that microbial abundance, distribution, and activity are sensitive to the applied flow regime and that the mobile (i.e. observable by groundwater sampling) fraction of microbial biomass is a varying, yet only a small, fraction of the total biomass in a domain. Furthermore, spatial heterogeneity resulted in anaerobic niches in the domain and shifts in microbial biomass between active and inactive states. The lack of consideration of spatial heterogeneity, thus, can result in inaccurate estimation of microbial activity. In most cases this leads to an overestimation of nutrient removal (up to twice the actual amount) along a flow path. We conclude that the governing factors for evaluating this are the residence time of solutes and the Damköhler number (Da) of the biogeochemical reactions in the domain. We propose a relationship to scale the impact of spatial heterogeneity on nutrient removal governed by the log10Da. This relationship may be applied in upscaled descriptions of microbially mediated nutrient cycling dynamics in the subsurface thereby resulting in more accurate predictions of, for example, carbon and nitrogen cycling in groundwater over long periods at the catchment scale.
dauerhafte UFZ-Verlinkung
Khurana, S., Heße, F., Hildebrandt, A., Thullner, M. (2022):
Predicting the impact of spatial heterogeneity on microbially mediated nutrient cycling in the subsurface
Biogeosciences 19 (3), 665 - 688 10.5194/bg-19-665-2022