|Lake Vida Project Participants: Nathaniel Ostrom|
Origin: Michigan State University, Department of Zoology
To determine rates of various nitrogen cycling processes within Lake Vida and the origin of the anomously high concentrations of nitrous oxide. My research in Lake Vida will focus on determination of rates of nitrification, denitrification, anammox as well as the determination of the origins of nitrous oxide. The brine within Lake Vida has the highest concentrations of nitrous oxide every reported for a body of water but how the nitrous oxide was produced remains a mystery.
Recent studies suggest that nitrous oxide in the nearby Don Juan Pond was derived from inorganic reactions but the presence of microbial mats in Lake Vida suggest that it may be produced by microbial action. We will determine the abundance of the stable isotopes within nitrous oxide as an approach for resolving its origin. We will further evaluate rates of nitrogen cycling reactions as it appears that the microbial activity within Vida is largely driven by nitrogen processes. This research will help us understand how life functions within one of the coldest environments on Earth.
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