Intact bacterial hopanoids as specific tracers of bacterial carbon in marine and estuarine environments
Taylor, Karen Ann
Harvey, H. Rodger
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Intact bacteriohopanepolyols (BHPs) and their degrative products were investigated in surface sediments and particulate organic matter from the Bering Sea, Western Arctic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay to trace the inputs of bacterial carbon sources and the dominant microbial processes operative during organic matter recycling. Despite cold temperatures and the dominance of diatoms, cyanobacteria are ubiquitous and inhabit the deeper layers of the euphotic zone in the Bering Sea, where their contributions to sediments were directly traced. As a small but important contribution to the total system chlorophyll, cyanobacteria represent a previously undocumented fraction of the organic carbon pool in this region. In the Western Arctic, soil derived bacterial sources were abundant and include a fraction that likely degraded on land prior to being transported into the Arctic Ocean. Bacterial signatures in Chesapeake Bay transition along the salinity gradient with intact hopanoids reflecting a diverse range of potential bacterial sources.