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      Hydrogenase Activity in Deeply Buried Sediments of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans

      , , ,
      Geomicrobiology Journal
      Informa UK Limited

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          Distributions of microbial activities in deep subseafloor sediments.

          S D'Hondt (2004)
          Diverse microbial communities and numerous energy-yielding activities occur in deeply buried sediments of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Distributions of metabolic activities often deviate from the standard model. Rates of activities, cell concentrations, and populations of cultured bacteria vary consistently from one subseafloor environment to another. Net rates of major activities principally rely on electron acceptors and electron donors from the photosynthetic surface world. At open-ocean sites, nitrate and oxygen are supplied to the deepest sedimentary communities through the underlying basaltic aquifer. In turn, these sedimentary communities may supply dissolved electron donors and nutrients to the underlying crustal biosphere.
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            Biogeographical distribution and diversity of microbes in methane hydrate-bearing deep marine sediments on the Pacific Ocean Margin.

            The deep subseafloor biosphere is among the least-understood habitats on Earth, even though the huge microbial biomass therein plays an important role for potential long-term controls on global biogeochemical cycles. We report here the vertical and geographical distribution of microbes and their phylogenetic diversities in deeply buried marine sediments of the Pacific Ocean Margins. During the Ocean Drilling Program Legs 201 and 204, we obtained sediment cores from the Peru and Cascadia Margins that varied with respect to the presence of dissolved methane and methane hydrate. To examine differences in prokaryotic distribution patterns in sediments with or without methane hydrates, we studied >2,800 clones possessing partial sequences (400-500 bp) of the 16S rRNA gene and 348 representative clone sequences (approximately 1 kbp) from the two geographically separated subseafloor environments. Archaea of the uncultivated Deep-Sea Archaeal Group were consistently the dominant phylotype in sediments associated with methane hydrate. Sediment cores lacking methane hydrates displayed few or no Deep-Sea Archaeal Group phylotypes. Bacterial communities in the methane hydrate-bearing sediments were dominated by members of the JS1 group, Planctomycetes, and Chloroflexi. Results from cluster and principal component analyses, which include previously reported data from the West and East Pacific Margins, suggest that, for these locations in the Pacific Ocean, prokaryotic communities from methane hydrate-bearing sediment cores are distinct from those in hydrate-free cores. The recognition of which microbial groups prevail under distinctive subseafloor environments is a significant step toward determining the role these communities play in Earth's essential biogeochemical processes.
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              Heterotrophic Archaea dominate sedimentary subsurface ecosystems off Peru.

              Studies of deeply buried, sedimentary microbial communities and associated biogeochemical processes during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 201 showed elevated prokaryotic cell numbers in sediment layers where methane is consumed anaerobically at the expense of sulfate. Here, we show that extractable archaeal rRNA, selecting only for active community members in these ecosystems, is dominated by sequences of uncultivated Archaea affiliated with the Marine Benthic Group B and the Miscellaneous Crenarchaeotal Group, whereas known methanotrophic Archaea are not detectable. Carbon flow reconstructions based on stable isotopic compositions of whole archaeal cells, intact archaeal membrane lipids, and other sedimentary carbon pools indicate that these Archaea assimilate sedimentary organic compounds other than methane even though methanotrophy accounts for a major fraction of carbon cycled in these ecosystems. Oxidation of methane by members of Marine Benthic Group B and the Miscellaneous Crenarchaeotal Group without assimilation of methane-carbon provides a plausible explanation. Maintenance energies of these subsurface communities appear to be orders of magnitude lower than minimum values known from laboratory observations, and ecosystem-level carbon budgets suggest that community turnover times are on the order of 100-2,000 years. Our study provides clues about the metabolic functionality of two cosmopolitan groups of uncultured Archaea.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Geomicrobiology Journal
                Geomicrobiology Journal
                Informa UK Limited
                0149-0451
                1521-0529
                September 24 2009
                September 24 2009
                : 26
                : 7
                : 537-545
                Article
                10.1080/01490450903104232
                e820dc89-8f1f-43af-b97f-f5ab96e89b60
                © 2009
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