Use of 16S rRNA gene based clone libraries to assess microbial communities potentially involved in anaerobic methane oxidation in a Mediterranean cold seep.
ABSTRACT: This study provides data on the diversities of bacterial and archaeal communities in an active methane seep at the Kazan mud volcano in the deep Eastern Mediterranean sea. Layers of varying depths in the Kazan sediments were investigated in terms of (1) chemical parameters and (2) DNA-based microbial population structures. The latter was accomplished by analyzing the sequences of directly amplified 16S rRNA genes, resulting in the phylogenetic analysis of the prokaryotic communities. Sequences of organisms potentially associated with processes such as anaerobic methane oxidation and sulfate reduction were thus identified. Overall, the sediment layers revealed the presence of sequences of quite diverse bacterial and archaeal communities, which varied considerably with depth. Dominant types revealed in these communities are known as key organisms involved in the following processes: (1) anaerobic methane oxidation and sulfate reduction, (2) sulfide oxidation, and (3) a range of (aerobic) heterotrophic processes. In the communities in the lowest sediment layer sampled (22-34 cm), sulfate-reducing bacteria and archaea of the ANME-2 cluster (likely involved in anaerobic methane oxidation) were prevalent, whereas heterotrophic organisms abounded in the top sediment layer (0-6 cm). Communities in the middle layer (6-22 cm) contained organisms that could be linked to either of the aforementioned processes. We discuss how these phylogeny (sequence)-based findings can support the ongoing molecular work aimed at unraveling both the functioning and the functional diversities of the communities under study.
Project description:Anaerobic methane oxidation was investigated in 6-m-long cores of marine sediment from Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Measured concentration profiles for methane and sulfate, as well as in situ rates determined with isotope tracers, indicated that there was a narrow zone of anaerobic methane oxidation about 150 cm below the sediment surface. Methane could account for 52% of the electron donor requirement for the peak sulfate reduction rate detected in the sulfate-methane transition zone. Molecular signatures of organisms present in the transition zone were detected by using selective PCR primers for sulfate-reducing bacteria and for Archaea. One primer pair amplified the dissimilatory sulfite reductase (DSR) gene of sulfate-reducing bacteria, whereas another primer (ANME) was designed to amplify archaeal sequences found in a recent study of sediments from the Eel River Basin, as these bacteria have been suggested to be anaerobic methane oxidizers (K. U. Hinrichs, J. M. Hayes, S. P. Sylva, P. G. Brewer, and E. F. DeLong, Nature 398:802-805, 1999). Amplification with the primer pairs produced more amplificate of both target genes with samples from the sulfate-methane transition zone than with samples from the surrounding sediment. Phylogenetic analysis of the DSR gene sequences retrieved from the transition zone revealed that they all belonged to a novel deeply branching lineage of diverse DSR gene sequences not related to any previously described DSR gene sequence. In contrast, DSR gene sequences found in the top sediment were related to environmental sequences from other estuarine sediments and to sequences of members of the genera Desulfonema, Desulfococcus, and Desulfosarcina. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA sequences obtained with the primers targeting the archaeal group of possible anaerobic methane oxidizers revealed two clusters of ANME sequences, both of which were affiliated with sequences from the Eel River Basin.
Project description:Here the composition of total and active archaeal communities in a sediment core of Jiulong River estuary at Fujian Province, Southern China was reported. Profiles of CH(4) and SO(2-) (4) concentrations from the sediment core indicated the existence of a sulfate-methane transition zone (SMTZ) in which sulfate reduction-coupled anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) occurs. Accordingly, three sediment layers (16-18.5 cm, 71-73.5 cm, and 161-163.5 cm) from the 1.2 m sediment core were sectioned and named top, middle and bottom, respectively. Total DNA and RNA of each layer were extracted and used for clone libraries and sequence analysis of 16S rRNA genes, the reverse transcription (RT)-PCR products of 16S rRNA and methyl CoM reductase alpha subunit (mcrA) genes. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that archaeal communities of the three layers were dominated by the Miscellaneous Crenarchaeotal Group (MCG) whose ecological functions were still unknown. The MCG could be further divided into seven subgroups, named MCG-A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. MCG-A and MCG-G were the most active groups in the estuarine sediments. Known anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANMEs) were only found as minor components in these estuarine archaeal communities. This study, together with the studies of deep subsurface sediments, would be a very good start point to target and compare the specific active archaeal groups and their roles in the dark, deep subsurface sediment environments.
Project description:Cold seeps, located along the Sonora Margin transform fault in the Guaymas Basin, were extensively explored during the 'BIG' cruise in June 2010. They present a seafloor mosaic pattern consisting of different faunal assemblages and microbial mats. To investigate this mostly unknown cold and hydrocarbon-rich environment, geochemical and microbiological surveys of the sediments underlying two microbial mats and a surrounding macrofaunal habitat were analyzed in detail. The geochemical measurements suggest biogenic methane production and local advective sulfate-rich fluxes in the sediments. The distributions of archaeal communities, particularly those involved in the methane cycle, were investigated at different depths (surface to 18 cm below the sea floor (cmbsf)) using complementary molecular approaches, such as Automated method of Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA), 16S rRNA libraries, fluorescence in situ hybridization and quantitative polymerase chain reaction with new specific primer sets targeting methanogenic and anaerobic methanotrophic lineages. Molecular results indicate that metabolically active archaeal communities were dominated by known clades of anaerobic methane oxidizers (archaeal anaerobic methanotroph (ANME)-1, -2 and -3), including a novel 'ANME-2c Sonora' lineage. ANME-2c were found to be dominant, metabolically active and physically associated with syntrophic Bacteria in sulfate-rich shallow sediment layers. In contrast, ANME-1 were more prevalent in the deepest sediment samples and presented a versatile behavior in terms of syntrophic association, depending on the sulfate concentration. ANME-3 were concentrated in small aggregates without bacterial partners in a restricted sediment horizon below the first centimetres. These niche specificities and syntrophic behaviors, depending on biological surface assemblages and environmental availability of electron donors, acceptors and carbon substrates, suggest that ANME could support alternative metabolic pathways than syntrophic anaerobic oxidation of methane.
Project description:Vesicomyidae clams harbor sulfide-oxidizing endosymbionts and are typical members of cold seep communities where active venting of fluids and gases takes place. We investigated the central biogeochemical processes that supported a vesicomyid clam colony as part of a locally restricted seep community in the Japan Trench at 5346 m water depth, one of the deepest seep settings studied to date. An integrated approach of biogeochemical and molecular ecological techniques was used combining in situ and ex situ measurements. In sediment of the clam colony, low sulfate reduction rates (maximum 128 nmol mL(-1) day(-1)) were coupled to the anaerobic oxidation of methane. They were observed over a depth range of 15 cm, caused by active transport of sulfate due to bioturbation of the vesicomyid clams. A distinct separation between the seep and the surrounding seafloor was shown by steep horizontal geochemical gradients and pronounced microbial community shifts. The sediment below the clam colony was dominated by anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME-2c) and sulfate-reducing Desulfobulbaceae (SEEP-SRB-3, SEEP-SRB-4). Aerobic methanotrophic bacteria were not detected in the sediment, and the oxidation of sulfide seemed to be carried out chemolithoautotrophically by Sulfurovum species. Thus, major redox processes were mediated by distinct subgroups of seep-related microorganisms that might have been selected by this specific abyssal seep environment. Fluid flow and microbial activity were low but sufficient to support the clam community over decades and to build up high biomasses. Hence, the clams and their microbial communities adapted successfully to a low-energy regime and may represent widespread chemosynthetic communities in the Japan Trench. In this regard, they contributed to the restricted deep-sea trench biodiversity as well as to the organic carbon availability, also for non-seep organisms, in such oligotrophic benthic environment of the dark deep ocean.
Project description:Globally, the methane (CH4) efflux from the ocean to the atmosphere is small, despite high rates of CH4 production in continental shelf and slope environments. This low efflux results from the biological removal of CH4 through anaerobic oxidation with sulfate in marine sediments. In some settings, however, pore water CH4 is found throughout the sulfate-bearing zone, indicating an apparently inefficient oxidation barrier for CH4. Here we demonstrate that rapid sediment accumulation can explain this limited capacity for CH4 removal in coastal sediments. In a saline coastal reservoir (Lake Grevelingen, The Netherlands), we observed high diffusive CH4 effluxes from the sediment into the overlying water column (0.2-0.8 mol m-2 yr-1) during multiple years. Linear pore water CH4 profiles and the absence of an isotopic enrichment commonly associated with CH4 oxidation in a zone with high rates of sulfate reduction (50-170 nmol cm-3 d-1) both suggest that CH4 is bypassing the zone of sulfate reduction. We propose that the rapid sediment accumulation at this site (~ 13 cm yr-1) reduces the residence time of the CH4 oxidizing microorganisms in the sulfate/methane transition zone (< 5 years), thus making it difficult for these slow growing methanotrophic communities to build-up sufficient biomass to efficiently remove pore water CH4. In addition, our results indicate that the high input of organic matter (~ 91 mol C m-2 yr-1) allows for the co-occurrence of different dissimilatory respiration processes, such as (acetotrophic) methanogenesis and sulfate reduction in the surface sediments by providing abundant substrate. We conclude that anthropogenic eutrophication and rapid sediment accumulation likely increase the release of CH4 from coastal sediments.
Project description:The anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) is a key biogeochemical process regulating methane emission from marine sediments into the hydrosphere. AOM is largely mediated by consortia of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), and has mainly been investigated in deep-sea sediments. Here we studied methane seepage at four spots located at 12 m water depth in coastal, organic carbon depleted permeable sands off the Island of Elba (Italy). We combined biogeochemical measurements, sequencing-based community analyses and in situ hybridization to investigate the microbial communities of this environment. Increased alkalinity, formation of free sulfide and nearly stoichiometric methane oxidation and sulfate reduction rates up to 200 nmol g(-1) day(-1) indicated the predominance of sulfate-coupled AOM. With up to 40 cm thickness the zones of AOM activity were unusually large and occurred in deeper sediment horizons (20-50 cm below seafloor) as compared to diffusion-dominated deep-sea seeps, which is likely caused by advective flow of pore water due to the shallow water depth and permeability of the sands. Hydrodynamic forces also may be responsible for the substantial phylogenetic and unprecedented morphological diversity of AOM consortia inhabiting these sands, including the clades ANME-1a/b, ANME-2a/b/c, ANME-3, and their partner bacteria SEEP-SRB1a and SEEP-SRB2. High microbial dispersal, the availability of diverse energy sources and high habitat heterogeneity might explain that the emission spots shared few microbial taxa, despite their physical proximity. Although the biogeochemistry of this shallow methane seep was very different to that of deep-sea seeps, their key functional taxa were very closely related, which supports the global dispersal of key taxa and underlines strong selection by methane as the predominant energy source. Mesophilic, methane-fueled ecosystems in shallow-water permeable sediments may comprise distinct microbial habitats due to their unique biogeochemical and physical characteristics. To link AOM phylotypes with seep habitats and to enable future meta-analyses we thus propose that seep environment ontology needs to be further specified.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Methane oxidizing prokaryotes in marine sediments are believed to function as a methane filter reducing the oceanic contribution to the global methane emission. In the anoxic parts of the sediments, oxidation of methane is accomplished by anaerobic methanotrophic archaea (ANME) living in syntrophy with sulphate reducing bacteria. This anaerobic oxidation of methane is assumed to be a coupling of reversed methanogenesis and dissimilatory sulphate reduction. Where oxygen is available aerobic methanotrophs take part in methane oxidation. In this study, we used metagenomics to characterize the taxonomic and metabolic potential for methane oxidation at the Tonya seep in the Coal Oil Point area, California. Two metagenomes from different sediment depth horizons (0-4 cm and 10-15 cm below sea floor) were sequenced by 454 technology. The metagenomes were analysed to characterize the distribution of aerobic and anaerobic methanotrophic taxa at the two sediment depths. To gain insight into the metabolic potential the metagenomes were searched for marker genes associated with methane oxidation. RESULTS: Blast searches followed by taxonomic binning in MEGAN revealed aerobic methanotrophs of the genus Methylococcus to be overrepresented in the 0-4 cm metagenome compared to the 10-15 cm metagenome. In the 10-15 cm metagenome, ANME of the ANME-1 clade, were identified as the most abundant methanotrophic taxon with 8.6% of the reads. Searches for particulate methane monooxygenase (pmoA) and methyl-coenzyme M reductase (mcrA), marker genes for aerobic and anaerobic oxidation of methane respectively, identified pmoA in the 0-4 cm metagenome as Methylococcaceae related. The mcrA reads from the 10-15 cm horizon were all classified as originating from the ANME-1 clade. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the taxa detected were present in both metagenomes and differences in community structure and corresponding metabolic potential between the two samples were mainly due to abundance differences. The results suggests that the Tonya Seep sediment is a robust methane filter, where taxa presently dominating this process could be replaced by less abundant methanotrophic taxa in case of changed environmental conditions.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Subsurface fluids from deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps undergo methane- and sulfur-cycling microbial transformations near the sediment surface. Hydrocarbon seep habitats are naturally patchy, with a mosaic of active seep sediments and non-seep sediments. Microbial community shifts and changing activity patterns on small spatial scales from seep to non-seep sediment remain to be examined in a comprehensive habitat study. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted a transect of biogeochemical measurements and gene expression related to methane- and sulfur-cycling at different sediment depths across a broad Beggiatoa spp. mat at Mississippi Canyon 118 (MC118) in the Gulf of Mexico. High process rates within the mat ( approximately 400 cm and approximately 10 cm from the mat's edge) contrasted with sharply diminished activity at approximately 50 cm outside the mat, as shown by sulfate and methane concentration profiles, radiotracer rates of sulfate reduction and methane oxidation, and stable carbon isotopes. Likewise, 16S ribosomal rRNA, dsrAB (dissimilatory sulfite reductase) and mcrA (methyl coenzyme M reductase) mRNA transcripts of sulfate-reducing bacteria (Desulfobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae) and methane-cycling archaea (ANME-1 and ANME-2) were prevalent at the sediment surface under the mat and at its edge. Outside the mat at the surface, 16S rRNA sequences indicated mostly aerobes commonly found in seawater. The seep-related communities persisted at 12-20 cm depth inside and outside the mat. 16S rRNA transcripts and V6-tags reveal that bacterial and archaeal diversity underneath the mat are similar to each other, in contrast to oxic or microoxic habitats that have higher bacterial diversity. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The visual patchiness of microbial mats reflects sharp discontinuities in microbial community structure and activity over sub-meter spatial scales; these discontinuities have to be taken into account in geochemical and microbiological inventories of seep environments. In contrast, 12-20 cm deep in the sediments microbial communities performing methane-cycling and sulfate reduction persist at lower metabolic rates regardless of mat cover, and may increase activity rapidly when subsurface flow changes.
Project description:Communities of anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) grow slowly, which limits the ability to perform physiological studies. High methane partial pressure was previously successfully applied to stimulate growth, but it is not clear how different ANME subtypes and associated SRB are affected by it. Here, we report on the growth of ANME-SRB in a membrane capsule bioreactor inoculated with Eckernförde Bay sediment that combines high-pressure incubation (10.1 MPa methane) and thorough mixing (100 rpm) with complete cell retention by a 0.2-m-pore-size membrane. The results were compared to previously obtained data from an ambient-pressure (0.101 MPa methane) bioreactor inoculated with the same sediment. The rates of oxidation of labeled methane were not higher at 10.1 MPa, likely because measurements were done at ambient pressure. The subtype ANME-2a/b was abundant in both reactors, but subtype ANME-2c was enriched only at 10.1 MPa. SRB at 10.1 MPa mainly belonged to the SEEP-SRB2 and Eel-1 groups and the Desulfuromonadales and not to the typically found SEEP-SRB1 group. The increase of ANME-2a/b occurred in parallel with the increase of SEEP-SRB2, which was previously found to be associated only with ANME-2c. Our results imply that the syntrophic association is flexible and that methane pressure and sulfide concentration influence the growth of different ANME-SRB consortia. We also studied the effect of elevated methane pressure on methane production and oxidation by a mixture of methanogenic and sulfate-reducing sludge. Here, methane oxidation rates decreased and were not coupled to sulfide production, indicating trace methane oxidation during net methanogenesis and not anaerobic methane oxidation, even at a high methane partial pressure.
Project description:Short-chain alkanes play a substantial role in carbon and sulfur cycling at hydrocarbon-rich environments globally, yet few studies have examined the metabolism of ethane (C2), propane (C3), and butane (C4) in anoxic sediments in contrast to methane (C1). In hydrothermal vent systems, short-chain alkanes are formed over relatively short geological time scales via thermogenic processes and often exist at high concentrations. The sediment-covered hydrothermal vent systems at Middle Valley (MV, Juan de Fuca Ridge) are an ideal site for investigating the anaerobic oxidation of C1-C4 alkanes, given the elevated temperatures and dissolved hydrocarbon species characteristic of these metalliferous sediments. We examined whether MV microbial communities oxidized C1-C4 alkanes under mesophilic to thermophilic sulfate-reducing conditions. Here we present data from discrete temperature (25, 55, and 75°C) anaerobic batch reactor incubations of MV sediments supplemented with individual alkanes. Co-registered alkane consumption and sulfate reduction (SR) measurements provide clear evidence for C1-C4 alkane oxidation linked to SR over time and across temperatures. In these anaerobic batch reactor sediments, 16S ribosomal RNA pyrosequencing revealed that Deltaproteobacteria, particularly a novel sulfate-reducing lineage, were the likely phylotypes mediating the oxidation of C2-C4 alkanes. Maximum C1-C4 alkane oxidation rates occurred at 55°C, which reflects the mid-core sediment temperature profile and corroborates previous studies of rate maxima for the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM). Of the alkanes investigated, C3 was oxidized at the highest rate over time, then C4, C2, and C1, respectively. The implications of these results are discussed with respect to the potential competition between the anaerobic oxidation of C2-C4alkanes with AOM for available oxidants and the influence on the fate of C1 derived from these hydrothermal systems.