Atmospheric deposition of polybromodiphenyl ethers in remote mountain regions of Europe

Arellano L., Fernández P., López J.F., Rose N.L., Nickus U., Thies H., Stuchlik E., Camarero L., Catalan J., Grimalt J.O. (2014) Atmospheric deposition of polybromodiphenyl ethers in remote mountain regions of Europe. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 14: 4441-4457.
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Doi: 10.5194/acp-14-4441-2014

Resum:

Polybromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were analyzed in bulk atmospheric deposition collected in four European remote mountain areas over a period of two years (2004-2006): Lake Redon (Pyrenees, Catalonia, Spain), Gossenköllesee (Alps, Austria), Lochnagar (Grampian Mountains, Scotland) and Skalnate (Tatras, Slovakia). In all sites, the PBDE distributions were dominated by BDE209. BDE47 and BDE99 were the major low-brominated congeners, followed by BDE100 and BDE183. This composition is consistent with predominant inputs from the commercial mixtures decaBDE and pentaBDE. The total congener site-averaged fluxes ranged between 100 ng m-2 mo-1 (Alps) and 190 ng m-2 mo-1 (Tatras). Significant correlations between PBDE deposition and percent of North Atlantic backwards air mass trajectories in the collected samples of the westernmost sites, Lochnagar and Redon, suggested an impact of transcontinental transfer of these pollutants from North American sources into Europe. Skalnate, and to a lower extent Redon, recorded another main PBDE source from central Europe corresponding to secondary emissions of the pentaBDE commercial mixture. The fluxes of these secondary emissions were temperature dependent and correlated to total particle deposition and rainfall. Higher PBDE fluxes were observed at increasing temperature, particle deposition and precipitation. Another specific PBDE source was observed in United Kingdom and recorded in Lochnagar. Photolytic degradation during transport decreased the relative abundance of BDE209 and modified the emitted pentaBDE technical mixtures by depletion of the relative composition of BDE99 and, to a lower extent, BDE47. The transformations were more intense in the sites located above 2000 m (Redon and Gossenköllesee) and, particularly, during the warm periods. © Author(s) 2014.

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Air temperature-driven CO2 consumption by rock weathering at short timescales: Evidence from a Holocene lake sediment record

Catalan J., Pla-Rabes S., Garcia J., Camarero L. (2014) Air temperature-driven CO2 consumption by rock weathering at short timescales: Evidence from a Holocene lake sediment record. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 136: 67-79.
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Doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.04.005

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The role that air temperature plays in the interaction between atmospheric CO2 levels and continental rock weathering at relatively short time scales is still a matter of debate. Laboratory studies reveal a strong dependence of mineral dissolution on temperature, but field comparisons among watersheds under different climate conditions often indicate correlations with other environmental factors. Using a paleolimnological approach, here we show that there has been an extremely good coupling between rock weathering, water alkalinity (CO2 consumption), and air temperature during the last 10,000years at sub-millennial time scales in a small watershed of silicate bedrock and scarce vegetation. The calculation of apparent activation energy for the weathering reaction (as a means to describe the temperature dependence of the process) provides a value (Ea=67±7kJmol-1) that is comparable to those found for silicate rocks similar to those in the watershed in laboratory experiments and some field studies. Our results provide evidence that regulatory constraints between air temperature, atmospheric CO2 and silicate rock weathering can be fine-tuned at geological timescales and may not be negligible in the current context of global change. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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Nitrogen-Cycling Genes in Epilithic Biofilms of Oligotrophic High-Altitude Lakes (Central Pyrenees, Spain)

Vila-Costa M., Bartrons M., Catalan J., Casamayor E.O. (2014) Nitrogen-Cycling Genes in Epilithic Biofilms of Oligotrophic High-Altitude Lakes (Central Pyrenees, Spain). Microbial Ecology. 68: 60-69.
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Doi: 10.1007/s00248-014-0417-2

Resum:

Microbial biofilms in oligotrophic environments are the most reactive component of the ecosystem. In high-altitude lakes, exposed bedrock, boulders, gravel, and sand in contact with highly oxygenated water and where a very thin epilithic biofilm develops usually dominate the littoral zone. Traditionally, these surfaces have been considered unsuitable for denitrification, but recent investigations have shown higher biological diversity than expected, including diverse anaerobic microorganisms. In this study, we explored the presence of microbial N-cycling nirS and nirK (denitrification through the conversion of NO2 - to NO), nifH (N2 fixation), anammox (anaerobic ammonium oxidation), and amoA (aerobic ammonia oxidation, both bacterial and archaeal) genes in epilithic biofilms of a set of high-altitude oligotrophic lakes in the Pyrenees. The concentrations of denitrifying genes determined by quantitative PCR were two orders of magnitude higher than those of ammonia-oxidizing genes. Both types of genes were significantly correlated, suggesting a potential tight coupling nitrification-denitrification in these biofilms that deserves further confirmation. The nifH gene was detected after nested PCR, and no signal was detected for the anammox-specific genes used. The taxonomic composition of denitrifying and nitrogen-fixing genes was further explored by cloning and sequencing. Interestingly, both microbial functional groups were richer and more genetically diverse than expected. The nirK gene, mostly related to Alphaproteobacteria (Bradyrhizobiaceae), dominated the denitrifying gene pool as expected for oxygen-exposed habitats, whereas Deltaproteobacteria (Geobacter like) and Cyanobacteria were the most abundant among nitrogen fixers. Overall, these results suggest an epilithic community more metabolically diverse than previously thought and with the potential to carry out an active role in the biogeochemical nitrogen cycling of high-altitude ecosystems. Measurements of activity rates should be however carried out to substantiate and further explore these findings. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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