Diversité des archées et implication de la composante procaryote dans le cycle biogéochimique du méthane en milieu aquatique continental : études taxonomiques et fonctionnelles dans la colonne d'eau et les sédiments anoxiques du lac Pavin

Abstract : Methane, a major greenhouse gas, is produced and consumed mainly by the metabolic activity of microorganisms affiliated to the domains Archaea and Bacteria. In order to understand the biogeochemical cycling of methane, it is essential to identify all the biological actors involved, as well as environmental factors modulating their activity. Freshwater lakes are a major source of methane because environmental conditions occurring in these ecosystems favor methanogenesis over other terminal processes of anaerobic degradation of organic matter. In this thesis, studies of communities involved in the biogeochemical cycling of methane were carried out in the water column and anoxic sediment of Lake Pavin (Auvergne), the unique French meromictic lake. This ecosystem has been selected as study site due to the high concentrations of methane in its deep water layer which contrast with the very low emission of this gas in the atmosphere. These geochemical observations suggest an intense activity of production and consumption of methane, providing an appropriate framework for studying the communities involved. Molecular approaches to characterize the spatial structure, composition, activity areas and factors (bottom-up and top-down) potentially involved in the regulation of methanogens and methanotrophs were, in this work, systematically associated to cultural and microcalorimetric approaches to acquire data on the physiology of microorganisms involved in the methane cycle. The results show that methanogens are distributed throughout the permanent anoxic water column (monimolimnion) and mainly in the superficial layer of the sediment situated under the monimolimnion. This metabolic group, mainly represented by species affiliated to Methanosaetaceae and Methanoregulaceae, is particularly active in the benthic zone which would be the main source of methane in this ecosystem. A new species of methanogen, Methanobacterium lacus, was isolated from these sediments and described. It enhances to the small number of methanogenic species isolated to date from freshwater lakes. The ecophysiological study of this strain suggests that the temperature could partly explain the low representation of Methanobacteriales in this ecosystem. A part of the methane appears to be directly consumed in the anoxic zone (pelagic and benthic). The existence of this process of anaerobic oxidation, supported by microcalorimetric approaches, could be in deep sediments, dependent on archaeal candidate lineages whose physiology remains enigmatic. The gradual replacement of methanogens by two archaeal candidate lineages (MBG-D and MCG) along the sedimentary profile suggests that they live in contrasted niche. The putative regulation of the archaeal communities by virus was analyzed. This study has reported the first observations of archaeovirus-like particles in a non-extreme environment (in term of temperature, pH and salinity) and virus-like particles which might represent new viral families. An intense viral activity in these sediments is suggested by i) the important number of visibly infected cells and ii) the concomitant change of the viral and prokaryotic communities with depth. While a fraction of methane is probably oxidized anaerobically, the consumption of this metabolite is mainly dependent on the activity of aerobic methanotrophs dominated by species affiliated to the genus Methylobacter, one of the main types of methanotrophs found in freshwater environments.These methanotrophs have a large area of activity, extending around both sides of the red/ox interface in the water column. This wide distribution may partly explain the low quantity of methane released by the Lake Pavin. (...)
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Guillaume Borrel. Diversité des archées et implication de la composante procaryote dans le cycle biogéochimique du méthane en milieu aquatique continental : études taxonomiques et fonctionnelles dans la colonne d'eau et les sédiments anoxiques du lac Pavin. Sciences agricoles. Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand II, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011CLF22176⟩. ⟨tel-00932300⟩

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