News & Events

New insights into metabolism in the deep layers of the ocean


A team headed by Gerhard J. Herndl from the University of Vienna together with colleagues from China and the USA has gained new insights into metabolism in the deep layers of the ocean.



Using a combination of different measurement techniques, it showed that ammonium-oxidizing crenarchaea and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria not only play an important role in the nitrogen, but also in the carbon cycle of the ocean. The more common crenarchaea can convert less ammonium to nitrite than bacteria, but they absorb three to four times more carbon dioxide. Despite the very different life strategies of the two groups of microorganisms, there is a perfect balance in the ammonium and nitrite conversion rates. The results of the study are currently published in the renowned journal PNAS. [more]


Nitrifier adaptation to low energy flux controls inventory of reduced nitrogen in the dark ocean: Yao Zhang, Wei Qin, Lei Hou, Emily J. Zakem, Xianhui Wan, Zihao Zhao, Li Liu, Kristopher A. Hunt, Nianzhi Jiao, Shuh-Ji Kao, Kai Tang, Xiabing Xie, Jiaming Shen, Yufang Li, Mingming Chen, Xiaofeng Dai, Chang Liu, Wenchao Deng, Minhan Dai, Anitra E. Ingalls, David A. Stahl, Gerhard J. Herndl DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1708779115

(c) G.J. Herndl