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Factors controlling the distribution of anaerobic methanotrophic communities in marine environments: Evidence from intact polar membrane lipids

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Rossel,  P. E.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Elvert,  M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Ramette,  A.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Boetius,  A.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Rossel, P. E., Elvert, M., Ramette, A., Boetius, A., & Hinrichs, K. U. (2011). Factors controlling the distribution of anaerobic methanotrophic communities in marine environments: Evidence from intact polar membrane lipids. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75(1), 164-184.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CA0F-C
Abstract
Three distinct types of microbial consortia appear to mediate the anaerobic oxidation of methane with sulfate as electron acceptor in marine sediments and are distributed ubiquitously. These consortia consist of ANerobic MEthanotrophic (ANME) archaea of the ANME-1, ANME-2 and ANME-3 clades and their sulfate-reducing bacterial partners either of the Desulfosarcina–Desulfococcus (ANME-1/DSS and ANME-2/DSS) or Desulfobulbus spp. (ANME-3/DBB) branches. Frequently one consortium type dominates the community, but the selective factors are not well constrained. Here we analyzed patterns in the composition of intact polar lipids extracted from bacterial and archaeal communities of different marine seep environments. Further, we investigated if different environmental and geographical factors were responsible for the observed patterns, and hence could be important in the selection of seep communities. Intact polar lipids (IPLs) provide a more robust distinction of the composition of extant communities than their less polar derivatives. In ANME-1/DSS-dominated communities, glycosidic- and phospho-glyceroldialkylglyceroltetraethers were abundant, while ANME-2/DSS and ANME-3/DBB-dominated communities showed abundant archaeol-based IPLs, either with glycosidic and phospho-headgroups or only phospho-headgroups, respectively. The relative proportion of bacterial IPLs varied widely from 0% to 93% and was generally lower in samples of the ANME-1 type, suggesting lower bacterial biomasses in the respective communities. In addition to these lipid signatures, distinctive features were related to the habitat characteristics of these communities: lower amounts of phosphate-based IPLs were generally observed in communities from calcified microbial mats compared to sediments, which may reflect phosphate limitation. Based on statistical analyses of IPLs and environmental data this study constrained for the first time the occurrence of three environmental factors controlling the distribution of different ANME-associated communities in a wide range of hydrocarbon seep systems. Habitats dominated by ANME-1/DSS communities were characterized by high temperature and low oxygen content in bottom waters (or even anoxia), while ANME-2/DSS and ANME-3/DBB-dominated sediments were located in settings with lower temperatures and higher oxygen content in bottom waters. Furthermore, ANME-2/DSS communities were particularly prominent in environments in which a relatively high supply of sulfate was sustained.