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Activity, distribution, and diversity of sulfate reducers and other bacteria in sediments above gas hydrate (Cascadia margin, Oregon)

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Knittel,  K.
Department of Molecular Ecology, 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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Amann,  R.
Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Knittel, K., Boetius, A., Lemke, A., Eilers, H., Lochte, K., Pfannkuche, O., et al. (2003). Activity, distribution, and diversity of sulfate reducers and other bacteria in sediments above gas hydrate (Cascadia margin, Oregon). Geomicrobiology Journal, 20(4), 269-294.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D20F-2
Abstract
Cold seep environments such as sediments above outcropping hydrate at Hydrate Ridge (Cascadia margin off Oregon) are characterized by methane venting, high sulfide fluxes caused by the anaerobic oxidation of methane, and the presence of chemosynthetic communities. Recent investigations showed that another characteristic feature of cold seeps is the occurrence of methanotrophic archaea, which can be identified by specific biomarker lipids and 16S rDNA analysis. This investigation deals with the diversity and distribution of sulfate-reducing bacteria, some of which are directly involved in the anaerobic oxidation of methane as syntrophic partners of the methanotrophic archaea. The composition and activity of the microbial communities at methane vented and nonvented sediments are compared by quantitative methods including total cell counts, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), bacterial production, enzyme activity, and sulfate reduction rates. Bacteria involved in the degradation of particulate organic carbon (POC) are as active and diverse as at other productive margin sites of similar water depths. The availability of methane supports a two orders of magnitude higher microbial biomass (up to 9.6 2 10 10 cells cm m 3 ) and sulfate reduction rates (up to 8 w mol cm m 3 d m 1 ) in hydrate-bearing sediments, as well as a high bacterial diversity, especially in the group of i -proteobacteria including members of the branches Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus , Desulforhopalus , Desulfobulbus , and Desulfocapsa . Most of the diversity of sulfate-reducing bacteria in hydrate-bearing sediments comprises seep-endemic clades, which share only low similarities with previously cultured bacteria.