Environment-dependent distribution of the sediment nifH-harboring microbiota in the Northern South China Sea.
ABSTRACT: The South China Sea (SCS), the largest marginal sea in the Western Pacific Ocean, is a huge oligotrophic water body with very limited influx of nitrogenous nutrients. This suggests that sediment microbial N(2) fixation plays an important role in the production of bioavailable nitrogen. To test the molecular underpinning of this hypothesis, the diversity, abundance, biogeographical distribution, and community structure of the sediment diazotrophic microbiota were investigated at 12 sampling sites, including estuarine, coastal, offshore, deep-sea, and methane hydrate reservoirs or their prospective areas by targeting nifH and some other functional biomarker genes. Diverse and novel nifH sequences were obtained, significantly extending the evolutionary complexity of extant nifH genes. Statistical analyses indicate that sediment in situ temperature is the most significant environmental factor influencing the abundance, community structure, and spatial distribution of the sediment nifH-harboring microbial assemblages in the northern SCS (nSCS). The significantly positive correlation of the sediment pore water NH(4)(+) concentration with the nifH gene abundance suggests that the nSCS sediment nifH-harboring microbiota is active in N(2) fixation and NH(4)(+) production. Several other environmental factors, including sediment pore water PO(4)(3-) concentration, sediment organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus levels, etc., are also important in influencing the community structure, spatial distribution, or abundance of the nifH-harboring microbial assemblages. We also confirmed that the nifH genes encoded by archaeal diazotrophs in the ANME-2c subgroup occur exclusively in the deep-sea methane seep areas, providing for the possibility to develop ANME-2c nifH genes as a diagnostic tool for deep-sea methane hydrate reservoir discovery.
Project description:In this study we investigated by using 16S rRNA-based methods the distribution and biomass of archaea in samples from (i) sediments above outcropping methane hydrate at Hydrate Ridge (Cascadia margin off Oregon) and (ii) massive microbial mats enclosing carbonate reefs (Crimea area, Black Sea). The archaeal diversity was low in both locations; there were only four (Hydrate Ridge) and five (Black Sea) different phylogenetic clusters of sequences, most of which belonged to the methanotrophic archaea (ANME). ANME group 2 (ANME-2) sequences were the most abundant and diverse sequences at Hydrate Ridge, whereas ANME-1 sequences dominated the Black Sea mats. Other seep-specific sequences belonged to the newly defined group ANME-3 (related to Methanococcoides spp.) and to the Crenarchaeota of marine benthic group B. Quantitative analysis of the samples by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) showed that ANME-1 and ANME-2 co-occurred at the cold seep sites investigated. At Hydrate Ridge the surface sediments were dominated by aggregates consisting of ANME-2 and members of the Desulfosarcina-Desulfococcus branch (DSS) (ANME-2/DSS aggregates), which accounted for >90% of the total cell biomass. The numbers of ANME-1 cells increased strongly with depth; these cells accounted 1% of all single cells at the surface and more than 30% of all single cells (5% of the total cells) in 7- to 10-cm sediment horizons that were directly above layers of gas hydrate. In the Black Sea microbial mats ANME-1 accounted for about 50% of all cells. ANME-2/DSS aggregates occurred in microenvironments within the mat but accounted for only 1% of the total cells. FISH probes for the ANME-2a and ANME-2c subclusters were designed based on a comparative 16S rRNA analysis. In Hydrate Ridge sediments ANME-2a/DSS and ANME-2c/DSS aggregates differed significantly in morphology and abundance. The relative abundance values for these subgroups were remarkably different at Beggiatoa sites (80% ANME-2a, 20% ANME-2c) and Calyptogena sites (20% ANME-2a, 80% ANME-2c), indicating that there was preferential selection of the groups in the two habitats. These variations in the distribution, diversity, and morphology of methanotrophic consortia are discussed with respect to the presence of microbial ecotypes, niche formation, and biogeography.
Project description:Sedimentary biofilms comprising microbial communities mediating the anaerobic oxidation of methane are rare. Here, we describe two biofilm communities discovered in sediment cores recovered from Arctic cold seep sites (gas hydrate pingos) in the north-western Barents Sea, characterized by steady methane fluxes. We found macroscopically visible biofilms in pockets in the sediment matrix at the depth of the sulphate-methane-transition zone. 16S rRNA gene surveys revealed that the microbial community in one of the two biofilms comprised exclusively of putative anaerobic methanotrophic archaea of which ANME-1 was the sole archaeal taxon. The bacterial community consisted of relatives of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) belonging to uncultured Desulfobacteraceae clustering into SEEP-SRB1 (i.e. the typical SRB associated to ANME-1), and members of the atribacterial JS1 clade. Confocal laser scanning microscopy demonstrates that this biofilm is composed of multicellular strands and patches of ANME-1 that are loosely associated with SRB cells, but not tightly connected in aggregates. Our discovery of methanotrophic biofilms in sediment pockets closely associated with methane seeps constitutes a hitherto overlooked and potentially widespread sink for methane and sulphate in marine sediments.
Project description:Communities of methanogens, anaerobic methanotrophic archaea and aerobic methanotrophic bacteria (MOB) were compared by profiling polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified products of mcrA and pmoA genes encoded by methyl-coenzyme M reductase alpha subunit and particulate methane monooxygenase alpha subunit, respectively, in sediments of northern South China Sea (nSCS) and Mai Po mangrove wetland. Community structures representing by mcrA gene based on 12 clone libraries from nSCS showed separate clusters indicating niche specificity, while, Methanomicrobiales, Methanosarcinales clades 1,2, and Methanomassiliicoccus-like groups of methanogens were the most abundant groups in nSCS sediment samples. Novel clusters specific to the SCS were identified and the phylogeny of mcrA gene-harboring archaea was updated. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to detect mcrA gene abundance in all samples: similar abundance of mcrA gene in the surface layers of mangrove (3.4?3.9 × 10(6) copies per gram dry weight) and of intertidal mudflat (5.5?5.8 × 10(6) copies per gram dry weight) was observed, but higher abundance (6.9 × 10(6) to 1.02 × 10(8) copies per gram dry weight) was found in subsurface samples of both sediment types. Aerobic MOB were more abundant in surface layers (6.7?11.1 × 10(5) copies per gram dry weight) than the subsurface layers (1.2?5.9 × 10(5) copies per gram dry weight) based on pmoA gene. Mangrove surface layers harbored more abundant pmoA gene than intertidal mudflat, but less pmoA genes in the subsurface layers. Meanwhile, it is also noted that in surface layers of all samples, more pmoA gene copies were detected than the subsurface layers. Reedbed rhizosphere exhibited the highest gene abundance of mcrA gene (8.51 × 10(8) copies per gram dry weight) and pmoA gene (1.56 × 10(7) copies per gram dry weight). This study investigated the prokaryotic communities responsible for methane cycling in both marine and coastal wetland ecosystems, showing the distribution characteristics of mcrA gene-harboring communities in nSCS and stratification of mcrA and pmoA gene diversity and abundance in the Mai Po Nature Reserve.
Project description:Ecological evidence suggests that heterotrophic diazotrophs fueled by organic carbon respiration in sediments play an important role in marine nitrogen fixation. However, fundamental knowledge about the identities, abundance, diversity, biogeography, and controlling environmental factors of nitrogen-fixing communities in open ocean sediments is still elusive. Surprisingly, little is known also about nitrogen-fixing communities in sediments of the more research-accessible marginal seas. Here we report on an investigation of the environmental geochemistry and putative diazotrophic microbiota in the sediments of Bohai Sea, an eutrophic marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean. Diverse and abundant nifH gene sequences were identified and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) were found to be the dominant putative nitrogen-fixing microbes. Community statistical analyses suggested bottom water temperature, bottom water chlorophyll a content (or the covarying turbidity) and sediment porewater Eh (or the covarying pH) as the most significant environmental factors controlling the structure and spatial distribution of the putative diazotrophic communities, while sediment Hg content, sulfide content, and porewater [Formula: see text]-Si content were identified as the key environmental factors correlated positively with the nifH gene abundance in Bohai Sea sediments. Comparative analyses between the Bohai Sea and the northern South China Sea (nSCS) identified a significant composition difference of the putative diazotrophic communities in sediments between the shallow-water (estuarine and nearshore) and deep-water (offshore and deep-sea) environments, and sediment porewater dissolved oxygen content, water depth and in situ temperature as the key environmental factors tentatively controlling the species composition, community structure, and spatial distribution of the marginal sea sediment nifH-harboring microbiota. This confirms the ecophysiological specialization and niche differentiation between the shallow-water and deep-water sediment diazotrophic communities and suggests that the in situ physical and geochemical conditions play a more important role than geographical contiguity in determining the community similarity of the diazotrophic microbiota in marginal sea sediments.
Project description:Diverse associations between methanotrophic archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacterial groups (SRB) often co-occur in marine methane seeps; however, the ecophysiology of these different symbiotic associations has not been examined. Here, we applied a combination of molecular, geochemical and Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) coupled to nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (FISH-NanoSIMS) analyses of in situ seep sediments and methane-amended sediment incubations from diverse locations (Eel River Basin, Hydrate Ridge and Costa Rican Margin seeps) to investigate the distribution and physiology of a newly identified subgroup of the Desulfobulbaceae (seepDBB) found in consortia with ANME-2c archaea, and compared these with the more commonly observed associations between the same ANME partner and the Desulfobacteraceae (DSS). FISH analyses revealed aggregates of seepDBB cells in association with ANME-2 from both environmental samples and laboratory incubations that are distinct in their structure relative to co-occurring ANME/DSS consortia. ANME/seepDBB aggregates were most abundant in shallow sediment depths below sulfide-oxidizing microbial mats. Depth profiles of ANME/seepDBB aggregate abundance revealed a positive correlation with elevated porewater nitrate relative to ANME/DSS aggregates in all seep sites examined. This relationship with nitrate was supported by sediment microcosm experiments, in which the abundance of ANME/seepDBB was greater in nitrate-amended incubations relative to the unamended control. FISH-NanoSIMS additionally revealed significantly higher (15)N-nitrate incorporation levels in individual aggregates of ANME/seepDBB relative to ANME/DSS aggregates from the same incubation. These combined results suggest that nitrate is a geochemical effector of ANME/seepDBB aggregate distribution, and provides a unique niche for these consortia through their utilization of a greater range of nitrogen substrates than the ANME/DSS.
Project description:Diverse nifH and nifH-like gene sequences were obtained from the deep-sea surface sediments of the methane hydrate-bearing Okhotsk Sea. Some sequences formed novel families of the NifH or NifH-like proteins, of currently unresolved bacterial or archaeal origin. Comparison with other marine environments indicates environmental specificity of some of the sequences, either unique to the methane seep sediments of the Okhotsk Sea or to the general deep-sea methane seep sedimentary environments.
Project description:Methane seeps are widespread seafloor ecosystems shaped by complex physicochemical-biological interactions over geological timescales, and seep microbiomes play a vital role in global biogeochemical cycling of key elements on Earth. However, the mechanisms underlying the coexistence of methane-cycling microbial communities remain largely elusive. Here, high-resolution sediment incubation experiments revealed a cryptic methane cycle in the South China Sea (SCS) methane seep ecosystem, showing the coexistence of sulfate (SO4 2-)- or iron (Fe)-dependent anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) and methylotrophic methanogenesis. This previously unrecognized methane cycling is not discernible from geochemical profiles due to high net methane consumption. High-throughput sequencing and Catalyzed Reporter Deposition-Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (CARD-FISH) results suggested that anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea (ANME)-2 and -3 coupled to sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) carried out SO4 2--AOM, and alternative ANME-2 and -3 solely or coupled to iron-reducing bacteria (IRB) might participate in Fe-AOM in sulfate-depleted environments. This finding suggested that ANME could alter AOM metabolic pathways according to geochemical changes. Furthermore, the majority of methylotrophic methanogens belonged to Methanimicrococcus, and hydrogenotrophic and acetoclastic methanogens were likely inhibited by sulfate or iron respiration. Fe-AOM and methylotrophic methanogenesis are overlooked potential sources and sinks of methane in methane seep ecosystems, thus influencing methane budgets and even the global carbon budget in the ocean.
Project description:Anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) in marine sediments is an important global methane sink, but the physiological characteristics of AOM-associated microorganisms remain poorly understood. Here we report the cultivation of an AOM microbial community from deep-sea methane-seep sediment using a continuous-flow bioreactor with polyurethane sponges, called the down-flow hanging sponge (DHS) bioreactor. We anaerobically incubated deep-sea methane-seep sediment collected from the Nankai Trough, Japan, for 2,013 days in the bioreactor at 10°C. Following incubation, an active AOM activity was confirmed by a tracer experiment using 13C-labeled methane. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that phylogenetically diverse Archaea and Bacteria grew in the bioreactor. After 2,013 days of incubation, the predominant archaeal components were anaerobic methanotroph (ANME)-2a, Deep-Sea Archaeal Group, and Marine Benthic Group-D, and Gammaproteobacteria was the dominant bacterial lineage. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis showed that ANME-1 and -2a, and most ANME-2c cells occurred without close physical interaction with potential bacterial partners. Our data demonstrate that the DHS bioreactor system is a useful system for cultivating fastidious methane-seep-associated sedimentary microorganisms.
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:Methane is a primary greenhouse gas which is responsible for global warming. The sulfate-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation (S-AOM) process catalyzed by anaerobic methanotrophic (ANME) archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) is a vital link connecting the global carbon and sulfur cycles, and it is considered to be the overriding methane sink in marine ecosystem. However, there have been few studies regarding the role of S-AOM process and the distribution of ANME archaea in intertidal ecosystem. The intertidal zone is a buffer zone between sea and land and plays an important role in global geochemical cycle. In the present study, the abundance, potential methane oxidation rate, and community structure of ANME archaea in the intertidal zone were studied by quantitative PCR, stable isotope tracing method and high-throughput sequencing. The results showed that the potential S-AOM activity ranged from 0 to 0.77?nmol 13CO2 g-1 (dry sediment) day-1 The copy number of 16S rRNA gene of ANME archaea reached 106 ? 107 copies g-1 (dry sediment). The average contribution of S-AOM to total anaerobic methane oxidation was up to 34.5%, while denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidation accounted for the rest, which implied that S-AOM process was an essential methane sink that cannot be overlooked in intertidal ecosystem. The simulated column experiments also indicated that ANME archaea were sensitive to oxygen and preferred anaerobic environmental conditions. This study will help us gain a better understanding of the global carbon-sulfur cycle and greenhouse gas emission reduction and introduce a new perspective into the enrichment of ANME archaea.IMPORTANCE The sulfate-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation (S-AOM) process catalyzed by anaerobic methanotrophic (ANME) archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) is a vital link connecting the global carbon and sulfur cycles. We conducted a research into the spatial-temporal pattern of S-AOM process and the distribution of ANME archaea in coastal sediments collected from the intertidal zone. The results implied that S-AOM process was a methane sink that cannot be overlooked in the intertidal ecosystem. We also found that ANME archaea were sensitive to oxygen and preferred anaerobic environmental conditions. This study will help us gain a better understanding of the global carbon-sulfur cycle and greenhouse gas emission reduction and introduce a new perspective into the enrichment of ANME archaea.