Biogeochemistry articles within Nature Communications

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  • Article |

    The presence of earthworms in soil may significantly increase CO2 emissions, but the impacts of earthworms on net carbon sequestration are poorly understood. Zhang et al. introduce a new concept by which the effects of earthworms on the balance of carbon mineralization and stabilization can be quantified.

    • Weixin Zhang
    • , Paul F. Hendrix
    •  & Shenglei Fu
  • Article |

    Isoprene and monoterpenes, emitted by terrestrial plants, have an important role in both plant biology and environment, but they are poorly quantified at the ecosystem level. Peñuelas et al.show that the photochemical reflectance index can be used to indirectly estimate foliar isoprenoid emissions remotely.

    • Josep Peñuelas
    • , Giovanni Marino
    •  & Iolanda Filella
  • Article |

    Deep oceanic crust could host a wealth of microbial life, but biogeochemical reactions therein are poorly understood. Orcutt et al.combine measurements of sedimentary oxygen and pore water chemistry from basement crust with a reactive transport box model to shed light on oxygen consumption in basaltic crust.

    • Beth N. Orcutt
    • , C. Geoffrey Wheat
    •  & Wolfgang Bach
  • Article |

    Hitherto, Siberian vegetation was not considered to cause the south-to-north ion content gradient of thaw lakes. Herzschuh et al.propose that higher evapotranspiration in larch forests compared with that in the tundra leads to local salt accumulation in permafrost soils, which are transported as solutes to nearby lakes.

    • Ulrike Herzschuh
    • , Luidmila A. Pestryakova
    •  & H. John B. Birks
  • Article |

    Accurate estimates of tropical forest carbon stocks are needed for policies to reduce emissions from loss of forests. By looking at a central area in the Congo Basin, Kearsleyet al.find that inconsistencies in height–diameter relationships across Central Africa cause overestimations between regions.

    • Elizabeth Kearsley
    • , Thales de Haulleville
    •  & Hans Verbeeck
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The dissolution of iron from sediments along ocean margins may stimulate photosynthesis and moderate global climate. This study shows how margin sediments supply iron in varying amounts between regions, and by distinct mechanisms, which may be due to geological characteristics and hydrological controls on land.

    • William B. Homoky
    • , Seth G. John
    •  & Rachel A. Mills
  • Article |

    Debates on the formation of banded iron formations (BIFs) in ancient iron-rich oceans are dominated by contradictions between biological and non-biological iron cycling. This study provides environmental evidence that directly implicates photosynthetic iron-oxidizing microorganisms in vast-scale BIF deposition.

    • Ernest Chi Fru
    • , Magnus Ivarsson
    •  & Marco Stampanoni
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deep subsurface formations are potential sites for carbon capture and storage but how subsurface microbial communities may respond to this is not clear. Here, Mayumi et al. construct microcosms and show that increasing CO2partial pressure via carbon capture and storage more than doubles the rate of methanogenesis.

    • Daisuke Mayumi
    • , Jan Dolfing
    •  & Yoichi Kamagata
  • Article |

    Iron plays a key role in controlling biological production in the Southern Ocean, yet mechanisms regulating iron availability are not completely understood. Here, Ingall et al.show that structural incorporation of reduced, organic iron into biogenic silica represents a new and substantial removal pathway.

    • Ellery D. Ingall
    • , Julia M. Diaz
    •  & Jay A. Brandes
  • Article |

    A strong increase in atmospheric 14C was measured in tree rings at AD 774 to 775, providing potential evidence of large cosmic ray fluxes to Earth, but the cause of this event is unclear. Here, Miyake et al. report a second 14C event in AD 993, which suggests that the most likely cause was a large solar proton event.

    • Fusa Miyake
    • , Kimiaki Masuda
    •  & Toshio Nakamura
  • Article |

    The role of bacteria in the origin of iron formations (IF) remains unclear because no direct evidence for their involvement exists. This study shows that spherical siderite in deep-water IF represents a biosignature for photoferrotrophy, whereas massive siderite reflects high cyanobacterial biomass in shallow-water.

    • Inga Köhler
    • , Kurt O Konhauser
    •  & Andreas Kappler
  • Article |

    Clear evidence between sulphidic conditions and denitrification in the Proterozoic ocean should be observable in the rock record. Here, minimalistic biogeochemical modelling shows how periods of extensive sulphate reduction must have gone hand-in-hand with low denitrification and available nitrate.

    • R.A. Boyle
    • , J.R. Clark
    •  & T.M. Lenton
  • Article |

    Rivers receive more terrestrial carbon than they transport to the ocean, leaving carbon stored along the way. Here, with an estimate of carbon storage in the headwater rivers of the Rocky Mountains, the authors show that broad valley bottoms with old-growth forest store most of the above- and below-ground carbon.

    • Ellen Wohl
    • , Kathleen Dwire
    •  & Roberto Bazan
  • Article |

    Microbes appear to play an important role in carbon sequestration. Here, the composition of microbial residues in a California grassland with elevated carbon dioxide, warming and nitrogen deposition reveals that warming and nitrogen deposition can both alter the fraction of carbon derived from microbes in soils.

    • Chao Liang
    •  & Teri C. Balser
  • Article |

    Methane is an important anthropogenic greenhouse gas and is thought to be produced by industrial processes and prokaryotic methanogenic Archaea. In this study, the saprotrophic fungi,Basidiomycetes, is shown to produce methane in the absence of methanogenic Archaea.

    • Katharina Lenhart
    • , Michael Bunge
    •  & Frank Keppler
  • Article |

    A record of the daily light cycle in tropical regions is difficult to extract from biogenic marine carbonates such as shells. Here, the precise analysis of Sr/Ca ratios is shown in a cultivated giant clam shell, revealing variations that reflect the daily light cycle and the potential for future development of a proxy.

    • Yuji Sano
    • , Sayumi Kobayashi
    •  & Kenji Iwai
  • Article |

    Peatlands are a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and make up a large soil carbon reservoir. Here, studies of the interaction between drainage and fire show that long-term carbon emissions will likely exceed rates of carbon uptake, reducing the northern peatland carbon sink.

    • M.R. Turetsky
    • , W.F. Donahue
    •  & B.W. Benscoter
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Dissolved organic matter, the main form of aquatic organic carbon, supports the aquatic food web and regulates light penetration in lakes. This study probes the main influences on the optical properties of dissolved organic matter in a global dataset of alpine and remote lakes revealing latitudinal trends.

    • N. Mladenov
    • , R. Sommaruga
    •  & I. Reche
  • Article |

    Through fine-root nutrient chemistry, it is possible to study ecosystem-scale biogeochemical cycling. Compiling data from 211 studies measuring nitrogen and phosphorus in plant roots, Yuanet al. find that tropical ecosystems are more phosphorous-limited than higher latitudes.

    • Z.Y. Yuan
    • , Han Y.H. Chen
    •  & Peter B. Reich
  • Article |

    Continental export of silicon to the coast is linked to ocean carbon sinks, but terrestrial silicon fluxes have not been quantified. Here, human deforestation and cultivation of the landscape are shown to be the most important factors in silicon mobilization in temperate European watersheds.

    • Eric Struyf
    • , Adriaan Smis
    •  & Patrick Meire
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge spreads extremely slowly and hydrothermal vent fields have not been reported in its vicinity. Pedersenet al. describe a black smoker vent field with large hydrothermal deposits and novel fauna distinct from those found in similar environments in the Atlantic.

    • Rolf B. Pedersen
    • , Hans Tore Rapp
    •  & Steffen L. Jorgensen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The storage in soils of biochar, the product of biomass pyrolysis, has been proposed as an attractive option to mitigate climate change. Amonette and co-workers model the potential impact of biochar and find that it could eliminate more carbon from the atmosphere than using the same biomass for biofuel.

    • Dominic Woolf
    • , James E. Amonette
    •  & Stephen Joseph
  • Article |

    The spatial distribution and parameters that affect soil microorganism communities are largely unknown. In this study, bacterial communities up to 240 metres apart are shown to be similar and are affected by soil pH, plant abundance and snow depth.

    • Andrew J. King
    • , Kristen R. Freeman
    •  & Steven K. Schmidt