Marine Subsurface Microbial Community Shifts Across a Hydrothermal Gradient in Okinawa Trough Sediments

Leah D. Brandt, Christopher H. House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sediments within the Okinawa back-arc basin overlay a subsurface hydrothermal network, creating intense temperature gradients with sediment depth and potential limits for microbial diversity. We investigated taxonomic changes across 45 m of recovered core with a temperature gradient of 3°C/m from the dynamic Iheya North Hydrothermal System. The interval transitions sharply from low-temperature marine mud to hydrothermally altered clay at 10 meters below seafloor (mbsf). Here, we present taxonomic results from an analysis of the 16S rRNA gene that support a conceptual model in which common marine subsurface taxa persist into the subsurface, while high temperature adapted archaeal taxa show localized peaks in abundances in the hydrothermal clay horizons. Specifically, the bacterial phylum Chloroflexi accounts for a major proportion of the total microbial community within the upper 10 mbsf, whereas high temperature archaea (Terrestrial Hot Spring Crenarchaeotic Group and methanotrophic archaea) appear in varying local abundances in deeper, hydrothermal clay horizons with higher in situ temperatures (up to 55°C, 15 mbsf). In addition, geochemical evidence suggests that methanotrophy may be occurring in various horizons. There is also relict DNA (i.e., DNA preserved after cell death) that persists in horizons where the conditions suitable for microbial communities have ceased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2690329
JournalArchaea
Volume2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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