Exploring deep microbial life in coal-bearing sediment down to ∼2.5 km below the ocean floor

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doi: 10.1126/science.aaa6882
Author(s): Inagaki, F.; Hinrichs, K. U.; Kubo, Y.; Bowles, M. W.; Heuer, V. B.; Hong, W. L.; Hoshino, T.; Ijiri, A.; Imachi, H.; Ito, M.; Kaneko, M.; Lever, M. A.; Lin, Y. S.; Methé, B. A.; Morita, S.; Morono, Y.; Tanikawa, W.; Bihan, M.; Bowden, S. A.; Elvert, M.; Glombitza, C.; Gross, D.; Harrington, G. J.; Hori, T.; Li, K.; Limmer, D.; Liu, C. H.; Murayama, M.; Ohkouchi, N.; Ono, S.; Park, Y. S.; Phillips, S. C.; Prieto-Mollar, X.; Purkey, M.; Riedinger, N.; Sanada, Y.; Sauvage, J.; Snyder, G.; Susilawati, R.; Takano, Y.; Tasumi, E.; Terada, T.; Tomaru, H.; Trembath-Reichert, E.; Wang, D. T.; Yamada, Y.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research, Nankoku, Japan
University of Bremen, Germany
Oregon State University, United States
Aarhus University, Denmark
J. Craig Venter Institute, United States
Geological Survey of Japan, Japan
University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Montanuniversität, Austria
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan
Nanjing University, China
Kochi University, Japan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, South Korea
University of New Hampshire, United States
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, United States
University of California at Riverside, United States
University of Rhode Island, United States
Rice University, United States
University of Queensland, Australia
Marine Works Japan, Japan
Chiba University, Japan
California Institute of Technology, United States
Kyoto University, Japan
Volume Title: Science
Source: Science, 349(6246), p.420-424. Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0036-8075 CODEN: SCIEAS
Note: In English. 31 refs.; illus.
Summary: Microbial life inhabits deeply buried marine sediments, but the extent of this vast ecosystem remains poorly constrained. Here we provide evidence for the existence of microbial communities in ∼40° to 60°C sediment associated with lignite coal beds at ∼1.5 to 2.5 km below the seafloor in the Pacific Ocean off Japan. Microbial methanogenesis was indicated by the isotopic compositions of methane and carbon dioxide, biomarkers, cultivation data, and gas compositions. Concentrations of indigenous microbial cells below 1.5 km ranged from <10 to ∼104 cells cm-3. Peak concentrations occurred in lignite layers, where communities differed markedly from shallower subseafloor communities and instead resembled organotrophic communities in forest soils. This suggests that terrigenous sediments retain indigenous community members tens of millions of years after burial in the seabed.
Year of Publication: 2015
Research Program: IODP Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 02 Geochemistry; 12 Stratigraphy, Historical Geology and Paleoecology; C-13/C-12; Carbon; Coal; Cretaceous; D/H; Depth; Expedition 337; Geochemistry; Hydrogen; IODP Site C0020; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Marine sediments; Mesozoic; Microorganisms; North Pacific; Northwest Pacific; Ocean floors; Pacific Ocean; Sedimentary rocks; Sediments; Stable isotopes; Terrigenous materials; West Pacific
Coordinates: N411036 N411036 E1421202 E1421202
Record ID: 2015085141
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute.