Site: Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER

Ammonia oxidizing archaea peak in the summer and play a previously-unknown role in driving estuarine nitrogen cycling.
Credit: Kazimierz Wieski

Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) convert ammonium into nitrite, but little is known about the population dynamics of this relatively new addition to the nitrogen cycle. Research from GCE LTER found that mid summer blooms of AOA coincide with a peak in nitrite concentration. Field data from 29 estuaries showed similar summer peaks in nitrite, suggesting that summer blooms of AOA are widespread and play a previously unrecognized role in driving estuarine nitrogen cycling.