Seasonal total methane depletion in limestone caves

Scientific Reports
Chris L WaringGraham Bell


Methane concentration in caves is commonly much lower than the external atmosphere, yet the cave CH4 depletion causal mechanism is contested and dynamic links to external diurnal and seasonal temperature cycles unknown. Here, we report a continuous 3-year record of cave methane and other trace gases in Jenolan Caves, Australia which shows a seasonal cycle of extreme CH4 depletion, from ambient ~1,775 ppb to near zero during summer and to ~800 ppb in winter. Methanotrophic bacteria, some newly-discovered, rapidly consume methane on cave surfaces and in external karst soils with lifetimes in the cave of a few hours. Extreme bacterial selection due to the absence of alternate carbon sources for growth in the cave environment has resulted in an extremely high proportion 2-12% of methanotrophs in the total bacteria present. Unexpected seasonal bias in our cave CH4 depletion record is explained by a three-step process involving methanotrophy in aerobic karst soil above the cave, summer transport of soil-gas into the cave through epikarst, followed by further cave CH4 depletion. Disentangling cause and effect of cave gas variations by tracing sources and sinks has identified seasonal speleothem growth bias, with implied palaeo-climate...Continue Reading


Jun 28, 1996·Science·S M SarbuB K Kinkle
Feb 6, 2004·Environmental Microbiology·Elena HutchensJ Colin Murrell
Jan 15, 2011·Nature Reviews. Microbiology·J T Lennon, Stuart E Jones
Jun 12, 2013·Environmental Microbiology Reports·Adrian HoPaul L E Bodelier
Oct 9, 2013·Frontiers in Microbiology·Jordan A FishJames R Cole
Feb 1, 2014·Science·Euan G NisbetPhilippe Bousquet
Aug 31, 2014·Applied and Environmental Microbiology·Muriel C F van TeeselingLaura van Niftrik
Apr 29, 2015·Nature Communications·Angel Fernandez-CortesSergio Sanchez-Moral
Sep 28, 2016·Geobiology·J T LennonA Schimmelmann

Related Concepts

Methanotroph H8

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.

Synthetic Genetic Array Analysis

Synthetic genetic arrays allow the systematic examination of genetic interactions. Here is the latest research focusing on synthetic genetic arrays and their analyses.

Neural Activity: Imaging

Imaging of neural activity in vivo has developed rapidly recently with the advancement of fluorescence microscopy, including new applications using miniaturized microscopes (miniscopes). This feed follows the progress in this growing field.

Computational Methods for Protein Structures

Computational methods employing machine learning algorithms are powerful tools that can be used to predict the effect of mutations on protein structure. This is important in neurodegenerative disorders, where some mutations can cause the formation of toxic protein aggregations. This feed follows the latests insights into the relationships between mutation and protein structure leading to better understanding of disease.

Congenital Hyperinsulinism

Congenital hyperinsulinism is caused by genetic mutations resulting in excess insulin secretion from beta cells of the pancreas. Here is the latest research.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by unexplained disabling fatigue; the pathology of which is incompletely understood. Discover the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome here.

Epigenetic Memory

Epigenetic memory refers to the heritable genetic changes that are not explained by the DNA sequence. Find the latest research on epigenetic memory here.

Cell Atlas of the Human Eye

Constructing a cell atlas of the human eye will require transcriptomic and histologic analysis over the lifespan. This understanding will aid in the study of development and disease. Find the latest research pertaining to the Cell Atlas of the Human Eye here.

Femoral Neoplasms

Femoral Neoplasms are bone tumors that arise in the femur. Discover the latest research on femoral neoplasms here.