Start/End: October 2010 to October 2013
Project Leader: Dr Alan Murphy
Methane is a key greenhouse gas and its release to the atmosphere is modulated microbially by two pathways; an aerobic and an anaerobic pathway. Research on the marine methane cycle has focussed on anaerobic processes but recent biomarker data has provided compelling evidence that aerobic methane oxidation (AMO) may play a much more significant role in reducing the amount of methane emitted from sediments than previously considered. AMO in these settings is poorly understood and a more complete understanding of present and past methane fluxes requires novel proxies that can be applied to present day samples and linked to the sedimentary record. This study fills this gap by targeting complex lipids biosynthesised by aerobic methanotrophs known as aminobacteriohopanepolyols (BHPs) for development as a proxy for AMO activity.
Dr Alan Murphy