Microbial sulfur cycle in two hydrothermal chimneys on the Southwest Indian Ridge.
ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:Sulfur is an important element in sustaining microbial communities present in hydrothermal vents. Sulfur oxidation has been extensively studied due to its importance in chemosynthetic pathways in hydrothermal fields; however, less is known about sulfate reduction. Here, the metagenomes of hydrothermal chimneys located on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) were pyrosequenced to elucidate the associated microbial sulfur cycle. A taxonomic summary of known genes revealed a few dominant bacteria that participated in the microbial sulfur cycle, particularly sulfate-reducing Deltaproteobacteria. The metagenomes studied contained highly abundant genes related to sulfur oxidation and reduction. Several carbon metabolic pathways, in particular the Calvin-Benson-Bassham pathway and the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycles for CO2 fixation, were identified in sulfur-oxidizing autotrophic bacteria. In contrast, highly abundant genes related to the oxidation of short-chain alkanes were grouped with sulfate-reducing bacteria, suggesting an important role for short-chain alkanes in the sulfur cycle. Furthermore, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria were associated with enrichment for genes involved in the denitrification pathway, while sulfate-reducing bacteria displayed enrichment for genes responsible for hydrogen utilization. In conclusion, this study provides insights regarding major microbial metabolic activities that are driven by the sulfur cycle in low-temperature hydrothermal chimneys present on an ultraslow midocean ridge. IMPORTANCE:There have been limited studies on chimney sulfides located at ultraslow-spreading ridges. The analysis of metagenomes of hydrothermal chimneys on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge suggests the presence of a microbial sulfur cycle. The sulfur cycle should be centralized within a microbial community that displays enrichment for sulfur metabolism-related genes. The present study elucidated a significant role of the microbial sulfur cycle in sustaining an entire microbial community in low-temperature hydrothermal chimneys on an ultraslow spreading midocean ridge, which has characteristics distinct from those of other types of hydrothermal fields.
Project description:Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) is a typical oceanic ultraslow spreading ridge with intensive hydrothermal activities. The microbial communities in hydrothermal fields including primary producers to support the entire ecosystem by utilizing geochemical energy generated from rock-seawater interactions. Here we have examined the microbial community structures on four hydrothermal vents from SWIR, representing distinct characteristics in terms of temperature, pH and metal compositions, by using Illumina sequencing of the 16S small subunit ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes, to correlate bacterial and archaeal populations with the nature of the vents influenced by ultraslow spreading features. Epsilon-, Gamma-, Alpha-, and Deltaproteobacteria and members of the phylum Bacteroidetes and Planctomycetes, as well as Thaumarchaeota, Woesearchaeota, and Euryarchaeota were dominant in all the samples. Both bacterial and archaeal community structures showed distinguished patterns compared to those in the fast-spreading East Pacific Ridge or the slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge as previously reported. Furthermore, within SWIR, the microbial communities are highly correlated with the local temperatures. For example, the sulfur-oxidizing bacteria were dominant within bacteria from low-temperature vents, but were not represented as the dominating group recovered from high temperature (over 300°C) venting chimneys in SWIR. Meanwhile, Thaumarchaeota, the ammonium oxidizing archaea, only showed high relative abundance of amplicons in the vents with high-temperature in SWIR. These findings provide insights on the microbial community in ultraslow spreading hydrothermal fields, and therefore assist us in the understanding of geochemical cycling therein.
Project description:At hydrothermal vent sites, chimneys consisting of sulfides, sulfates, and oxides are formed upon contact of reduced hydrothermal fluids with oxygenated seawater. The walls and surfaces of these chimneys are an important habitat for vent-associated microorganisms. We used community proteogenomics to investigate and compare the composition, metabolic potential and relative in situ protein abundance of microbial communities colonizing two actively venting hydrothermal chimneys from the Manus Basin back-arc spreading center (Papua New Guinea). We identified overlaps in the in situ functional profiles of both chimneys, despite differences in microbial community composition and venting regime. Carbon fixation on both chimneys seems to have been primarily mediated through the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle and fueled by sulfur-oxidation, while the abundant metabolic potential for hydrogen oxidation and carbon fixation via the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle was hardly utilized. Notably, the highly diverse microbial community colonizing the analyzed black smoker chimney had a highly redundant metabolic potential. In contrast, the considerably less diverse community colonizing the diffusely venting chimney displayed a higher metabolic versatility. An increased diversity on the phylogenetic level is thus not directly linked to an increased metabolic diversity in microbial communities that colonize hydrothermal chimneys.
Project description:Lost City (mid-Atlantic ridge) is a unique oceanic hydrothermal field where carbonate-brucite chimneys are colonized by a single phylotype of archaeal Methanosarcinales, as well as sulfur- and methane-metabolizing bacteria. So far, only one submarine analog of Lost City has been characterized, the Prony Bay hydrothermal field (New Caledonia), which nonetheless shows more microbiological similarities with ecosystems associated with continental ophiolites. This study presents the microbial ecology of the 'Lost City'-type Old City hydrothermal field, recently discovered along the southwest Indian ridge. Five carbonate-brucite chimneys were sampled and subjected to mineralogical and geochemical analyses, microimaging, as well as 16S rRNA-encoding gene and metagenomic sequencing. Dominant taxa and metabolisms vary between chimneys, in conjunction with the predicted redox state, while potential formate- and CO-metabolizing microorganisms as well as sulfur-metabolizing bacteria are always abundant. We hypothesize that the variable environmental conditions resulting from the slow and diffuse hydrothermal fluid discharge that currently characterizes Old City could lead to different microbial populations between chimneys that utilize CO and formate differently as carbon or electron sources. Old City discovery and this first description of its microbial ecology opens up attractive perspectives for understanding environmental factors shaping communities and metabolisms in oceanic serpentinite-hosted ecosystems.
Project description:Deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimneys harbor a high diversity of largely unknown microorganisms. Although the phylogenetic diversity of these microorganisms has been described previously, the adaptation and metabolic potential of the microbial communities is only beginning to be revealed. A pyrosequencing approach was used to directly obtain sequences from a fosmid library constructed from a black smoker chimney 4143-1 in the Mothra hydrothermal vent field at the Juan de Fuca Ridge. A total of 308,034 reads with an average sequence length of 227 bp were generated. Comparative genomic analyses of metagenomes from a variety of environments by two-way clustering of samples and functional gene categories demonstrated that the 4143-1 metagenome clustered most closely with that from a carbonate chimney from Lost City. Both are highly enriched in genes for mismatch repair and homologous recombination, suggesting that the microbial communities have evolved extensive DNA repair systems to cope with the extreme conditions that have potential deleterious effects on the genomes. As previously reported for the Lost City microbiome, the metagenome of chimney 4143-1 exhibited a high proportion of transposases, implying that horizontal gene transfer may be a common occurrence in the deep-sea vent chimney biosphere. In addition, genes for chemotaxis and flagellar assembly were highly enriched in the chimney metagenomes, reflecting the adaptation of the organisms to the highly dynamic conditions present within the chimney walls. Reconstruction of the metabolic pathways revealed that the microbial community in the wall of chimney 4143-1 was mainly fueled by sulfur oxidation, putatively coupled to nitrate reduction to perform inorganic carbon fixation through the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle. On the basis of the genomic organization of the key genes of the carbon fixation and sulfur oxidation pathways contained in the large genomic fragments, both obligate and facultative autotrophs appear to be present and contribute to biomass production.
Project description:Hydrothermal chimneys are a globally dispersed habitat on the seafloor associated with mid-ocean ridge (MOR) spreading centers. Active, hot, venting sulfide structures from MORs have been examined for microbial diversity and ecology since their discovery in the mid-1970s, and recent work has also begun to explore the microbiology of inactive sulfides--structures that persist for decades to millennia and form moderate to massive deposits at and below the seafloor. Here we used tag pyrosequencing of the V6 region of the 16S rRNA and full-length 16S rRNA sequencing on inactive hydrothermal sulfide chimney samples from 9°N on the East Pacific Rise to learn their bacterial composition, metabolic potential, and succession from venting to nonventing (inactive) regimes. Alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gammaproteobacteria and members of the phylum Bacteroidetes dominate all inactive sulfides. Greater than 26% of the V6 tags obtained are closely related to lineages involved in sulfur, nitrogen, iron, and methane cycling. Epsilonproteobacteria represent <4% of the V6 tags recovered from inactive sulfides and 15% of the full-length clones, despite their high abundance in active chimneys. Members of the phylum Aquificae, which are common in active vents, were absent from both the V6 tags and full-length 16S rRNA data sets. In both analyses, the proportions of alphaproteobacteria, betaproteobacteria, and members of the phylum Bacteroidetes were greater than those found on active hydrothermal sulfides. These shifts in bacterial population structure on inactive chimneys reveal ecological succession following cessation of venting and also imply a potential shift in microbial activity and metabolic guilds on hydrothermal sulfides, the dominant biome that results from seafloor venting.
Project description:Faunal assemblages at hydrothermal vents associated with island-arc volcanism are less well known than those at vents on mid-ocean ridges and back-arc spreading centres. This study characterizes chemosynthetic biotopes at active hydrothermal vents discovered at the Kemp Caldera in the South Sandwich Arc. The caldera hosts sulfur and anhydrite vent chimneys in 1375-1487 m depth, which emit sulfide-rich fluids with temperatures up to 212°C, and the microbial community of water samples in the buoyant plume rising from the vents was dominated by sulfur-oxidizing Gammaproteobacteria. A total of 12 macro- and megafaunal taxa depending on hydrothermal activity were collected in these biotopes, of which seven species were known from the East Scotia Ridge (ESR) vents and three species from vents outside the Southern Ocean. Faunal assemblages were dominated by large vesicomyid clams, actinostolid anemones, Sericosura sea spiders and lepetodrilid and cocculinid limpets, but several taxa abundant at nearby ESR hydrothermal vents were rare such as the stalked barnacle Neolepas scotiaensis. Multivariate analysis of fauna at Kemp Caldera and vents in neighbouring areas indicated that the Kemp Caldera is most similar to vent fields in the previously established Southern Ocean vent biogeographic province, showing that the species composition at island-arc hydrothermal vents can be distinct from nearby seafloor-spreading systems. ? 13C and ? 15N isotope values of megafaunal species analysed from the Kemp Caldera were similar to those of the same or related species at other vent fields, but none of the fauna sampled at Kemp Caldera had ? 13C values, indicating nutritional dependence on Epsilonproteobacteria, unlike fauna at other island-arc hydrothermal vents.
Project description:The Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (AMOR) represents one of the most slow-spreading ridge systems on Earth. Previous attempts to locate hydrothermal vent fields and unravel the nature of venting, as well as the provenance of vent fauna at this northern and insular termination of the global ridge system, have been unsuccessful. Here, we report the first discovery of a black smoker vent field at the AMOR. The field is located on the crest of an axial volcanic ridge (AVR) and is associated with an unusually large hydrothermal deposit, which documents that extensive venting and long-lived hydrothermal systems exist at ultraslow-spreading ridges, despite their strongly reduced volcanic activity. The vent field hosts a distinct vent fauna that differs from the fauna to the south along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The novel vent fauna seems to have developed by local specialization and by migration of fauna from cold seeps and the Pacific.
Project description:Thirty years after the first discovery of high-temperature submarine venting, the vast majority of the global mid-ocean ridge remains unexplored for hydrothermal activity. Of particular interest are the world's ultraslow spreading ridges that were the last to be demonstrated to host high-temperature venting but may host systems particularly relevant to prebiotic chemistry and the origins of life. Here we report evidence for previously unknown, diverse, and very deep hydrothermal vents along the approximately 110 km long, ultraslow spreading Mid-Cayman Rise (MCR). Our data indicate that the MCR hosts at least three discrete hydrothermal sites, each representing a different type of water-rock interaction, including both mafic and ultramafic systems and, at approximately 5,000 m, the deepest known hydrothermal vent. Although submarine hydrothermal circulation, in which seawater percolates through and reacts with host lithologies, occurs on all mid-ocean ridges, the diversity of vent types identified here and their relative geographic isolation make the MCR unique in the oceans. These new sites offer prospects for an expanded range of vent-fluid compositions, varieties of abiotic organic chemical synthesis and extremophile microorganisms, and unparalleled faunal biodiversity--all in close proximity.
Project description:Chemolithoautotrophic iron-oxidizing bacteria play an essential role in the global iron cycle. Thus far, the majority of marine iron-oxidizing bacteria have been identified as Zetaproteobacteria, a novel class within the phylum Proteobacteria. Marine iron-oxidizing microbial communities have been found associated with volcanically active seamounts, crustal spreading centers, and coastal waters. However, little is known about the presence and diversity of iron-oxidizing communities at hydrothermal systems along the slow crustal spreading center of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. From October to November 2012, samples were collected from rust-colored mats at three well-known hydrothermal vent systems on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Rainbow, Trans-Atlantic Geotraverse, and Snake Pit) using the ROV Jason II. The goal of these efforts was to determine if iron-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria were present at sites proximal to black smoker vent fields. Small, diffuse flow venting areas with high iron(II) concentrations and rust-colored microbial mats were observed at all three sites proximal to black smoker chimneys. A novel, syringe-based precision sampler was used to collect discrete microbial iron mat samples at the three sites. The presence of Zetaproteobacteria was confirmed using a combination of 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and single-cell sorting, while light micros-copy revealed a variety of iron-oxyhydroxide structures, indicating that active iron-oxidizing communities exist along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Sequencing analysis suggests that these iron mats contain cosmopolitan representatives of Zetaproteobacteria, but also exhibit diversity that may be uncommon at other iron-rich marine sites studied to date. A meta-analysis of publically available data encompassing a variety of aquatic habitats indicates that Zetaproteobacteria are rare if an iron source is not readily available. This work adds to the growing understanding of Zetaproteobacteria ecology and suggests that this organism is likely locally restricted to iron-rich marine environments but may exhibit wide-scale geographic distribution, further underscoring the importance of Zetaproteobacteria in global iron cycling.
Project description:When its hydrothermal supply ceases, hydrothermal sulfide chimneys become inactive and commonly experience oxidative weathering on the seafloor. However, little is known about the oxidative weathering of inactive sulfide chimneys, nor about associated microbial community structures and their succession during this weathering process. In this work, an inactive sulfide chimney and a young chimney in the early sulfate stage of formation were collected from the Main Endeavor Field of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. To assess oxidative weathering, the ultrastructures of secondary alteration products accumulating on the chimney surface were examined and the presence of possible Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) was investigated. The results of ultrastructure observation revealed that FeOB-associated ultrastructures with indicative morphologies were abundantly present. Iron oxidizers primarily consisted of members closely related to Gallionella spp. and Mariprofundus spp., indicating Fe-oxidizing species likely promote the oxidative weathering of inactive sulfide chimneys. Abiotic accumulation of Fe-rich substances further indicates that oxidative weathering is a complex, dynamic process, alternately controlled by FeOB and by abiotic oxidization. Although hydrothermal fluid flow had ceased, inactive chimneys still accommodate an abundant and diverse microbiome whose microbial composition and metabolic potential dramatically differ from their counterparts at active vents. Bacterial lineages within current inactive chimney are dominated by members of ?-, ?-, and ?-Proteobacteria and they are deduced to be closely involved in a diverse set of geochemical processes including iron oxidation, nitrogen fixation, ammonia oxidation and denitrification. At last, by examining microbial communities within hydrothermal chimneys at different formation stages, a general microbial community succession can be deduced from early formation stages of a sulfate chimney to actively mature sulfide structures, and then to the final inactive altered sulfide chimney. Our findings provide valuable insights into the microbe-involved oxidative weathering process and into microbial succession occurring at inactive hydrothermal sulfide chimney after high-temperature hydrothermal fluids have ceased venting.