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Abstract Title: Identifying the Microbial Communities That Methylated Mercury in Prairie Wetland Ponds
Presenter Name: Zohra Zahir
Company/Institution: University of Regina
Session: Special Session - Meta-omic and geochemical approaches to linking microbial activity to biogeochemical mercury cycling
Co-Authors: Zohra Zahir,Britt Hall

Abstract Information :

Wetlands in the Praire region of the North American Great Plains provide critical ecosystem services and habitats to numerous animals. These systems are also very biogeochemically active. Previous works have shown that concentrations of MeHg can be in the range of 0.18 - 2.1 ng/g in whole water. Our work identified microbes with the potential to methylate Hg in prairie wetland ponds over the open-water season and correlated the presence of putative methylators to observed environmental variables. Sediment samples were taken from 11 prairie wetland ponds in Saskatchewan, Canada from May to September 2021. DNA extraction and sequencing were used to identify the microbes via their 16s rRNA gene. Water samples were also collected to analyze the concentrations of Hg, MeHg, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The resulting greater understanding of putative methylating microbes existing in prairie wetland ponds will contribute to our ongoing investigations of the impact of climate change on Hg cycling in these vulnerable and important ecosystems.

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