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Deep biosphere

Anna Neubeck, Susanne Sjöberg, Alex Price, Nolwenn Callac, Anna Schnürer
Hydrogen (H2) consumption and methane (CH4) production in pure cultures of three different methanogens were investigated during cultivation with 0, 0.2 and 4.21 μM added nickel (Ni). The results showed that the level of dissolved Ni in the anaerobic growth medium did not notably affect CH4 production in the cytochrome-free methanogenic species Methanobacterium bryantii and Methanoculleus bourgensis MAB1, but affected CH4 formation rate in the cytochrome-containing Methanosarcina barkeri grown on H2 and CO2...
2016: PloS One
John F Stolz
The Gaia Hypothesis, proposed 50 years ago, posits that the Earth's biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere interact as a cybernetic system, maintaining the long-term habitability of the planet. The resulting chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans, and crust is unique as compared to the other planets of our solar system, and due to the presence of life. Together these components comprise the biosphere, the life support system of the planet, with most of the essential processes carried out by microbes...
December 8, 2016: FEMS Microbiology Ecology
E E Stüeken, M A Kipp, M C Koehler, E W Schwieterman, B Johnson, R Buick
Nitrogen is a major nutrient for all life on Earth and could plausibly play a similar role in extraterrestrial biospheres. The major reservoir of nitrogen at Earth's surface is atmospheric N2, but recent studies have proposed that the size of this reservoir may have fluctuated significantly over the course of Earth's history with particularly low levels in the Neoarchean-presumably as a result of biological activity. We used a biogeochemical box model to test which conditions are necessary to cause large swings in atmospheric N2 pressure...
December 2016: Astrobiology
Cheong Xin Chan, Robert G Beiko, Mark A Ragan
Lateral genetic transfer (LGT) is the process by which genetic material moves between organisms (and viruses) in the biosphere. Among the many approaches developed for the inference of LGT events from DNA sequence data, methods based on the comparison of phylogenetic trees remain the gold standard for many types of problem. Identifying LGT events from sequenced genomes typically involves a series of steps in which homologous sequences are identified and aligned, phylogenetic trees are inferred, and their topologies are compared to identify unexpected or conflicting relationships...
2017: Methods in Molecular Biology
Olga Flegontova, Pavel Flegontov, Shruti Malviya, Stephane Audic, Patrick Wincker, Colomban de Vargas, Chris Bowler, Julius Lukeš, Aleš Horák
The world's oceans represent by far the largest biome, with great importance for the global ecosystem [1-4]. The vast majority of ocean biomass and biodiversity is composed of microscopic plankton. Recent results from the Tara Oceans metabarcoding study revealed that a significant part of the plankton in the upper sunlit layer of the ocean is represented by an understudied group of heterotrophic excavate flagellates called diplonemids [5, 6]. We have analyzed the diversity and distribution patterns of diplonemid populations on the extended set of Tara Oceans V9 18S rDNA metabarcodes amplified from 850 size- fractionated plankton communities sampled across 123 globally distributed locations, for the first time also including samples from the mesopelagic zone, which spans the depth from about 200 to 1,000 meters...
November 21, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Jeffrey C Drazen, Tracey T Sutton
Deep-sea fishes inhabit ∼75% of the biosphere and are a critical part of deep-sea food webs. Diet analysis and more recent trophic biomarker approaches, such as stable isotopes and fatty-acid profiles, have enabled the description of feeding guilds and an increased recognition of the vertical connectivity in food webs in a whole-water-column sense, including benthic-pelagic coupling. Ecosystem modeling requires data on feeding rates; the available estimates indicate that deep-sea fishes have lower per-individual feeding rates than coastal and epipelagic fishes, but the overall predation impact may be high...
January 3, 2017: Annual Review of Marine Science
L Li, B A Wing, T H Bui, J M McDermott, G F Slater, S Wei, G Lacrampe-Couloume, B Sherwood Lollar
The discovery of hydrogen-rich waters preserved below the Earth's surface in Precambrian rocks worldwide expands our understanding of the habitability of the terrestrial subsurface. Many deep microbial ecosystems in these waters survive by coupling hydrogen oxidation to sulfate reduction. Hydrogen originates from water-rock reactions including serpentinization and radiolytic decomposition of water induced by decay of radioactive elements in the host rocks. The origin of dissolved sulfate, however, remains unknown...
October 27, 2016: Nature Communications
Frank S Gilliam
I. II. III. IV. V. References SUMMARY: Humans have long utilized resources from all forest biomes, but the most indelible anthropogenic signature has been the expanse of human populations in temperate forests. The purpose of this review is to bring into focus the diverse forests of the temperate region of the biosphere, including those of hardwood, conifer and mixed dominance, with a particular emphasis on crucial challenges for the future of these forested areas. Implicit in the term 'temperate' is that the predominant climate of these forest regions has distinct cyclic, seasonal changes involving periods of growth and dormancy...
October 27, 2016: New Phytologist
Magali Ranchou-Peyruse, Cyrielle Gasc, Marion Guignard, Thomas Aüllo, David Dequidt, Pierre Peyret, Anthony Ranchou-Peyruse
The formation water of a deep aquifer (853 m of depth) used for geological storage of natural gas was sampled to assess the mono-aromatic hydrocarbons attenuation potential of the indigenous microbiota. The study of bacterial diversity suggests that Firmicutes and, in particular, sulphate-reducing bacteria (Peptococcaceae) predominate in this microbial community. The capacity of the microbial community to biodegrade toluene and m- and p-xylenes was demonstrated using a culture-based approach after several hundred days of incubation...
October 21, 2016: Microbial Biotechnology
Clemens Glombitza, Rishi R Adhikari, Natascha Riedinger, William P Gilhooly, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, Fumio Inagaki
Sulfate reduction is the predominant anaerobic microbial process of organic matter mineralization in marine sediments, with recent studies revealing that sulfate reduction not only occurs in sulfate-rich sediments, but even extends to deeper, methanogenic sediments at very low background concentrations of sulfate. Using samples retrieved off the Shimokita Peninsula, Japan, during the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 337, we measured potential sulfate reduction rates by slurry incubations with (35)S-labeled sulfate in deep methanogenic sediments between 1276...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Stephanie L Olson, Christopher T Reinhard, Timothy W Lyons
The redox landscape of Earth's ocean-atmosphere system has changed dramatically throughout Earth history. Although Earth's protracted oxygenation is undoubtedly the consequence of cyanobacterial oxygenic photosynthesis, the relationship between biological O2 production and Earth's redox evolution remains poorly understood. Existing models for Earth's oxygenation cannot adequately explain the nearly 2.5 billion years delay between the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis and the oxygenation of the deep ocean, in large part owing to major deficiencies in our understanding of the coevolution of O2 and Earth's key biogeochemical cycles (e...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Stefan Braun, Yuki Morono, Sten Littmann, Marcel Kuypers, Hüsnü Aslan, Mingdong Dong, Bo B Jørgensen, Bente Aa Lomstein
The discovery of a microbial ecosystem in ocean sediments has evoked interest in life under extreme energy limitation and its role in global element cycling. However, fundamental parameters such as the size and the amount of biomass of sub-seafloor microbial cells are poorly constrained. Here we determined the volume and the carbon content of microbial cells from a marine sediment drill core retrieved by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), Expedition 347, at Landsort Deep, Baltic Sea. To determine their shape and volume, cells were separated from the sediment matrix by multi-layer density centrifugation and visualized via epifluorescence microscopy (FM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM)...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Sean McMahon, John Parnell, Nigel J F Blamey
UNLABELLED: The oxidation of molecular hydrogen (H2) is thought to be a major source of metabolic energy for life in the deep subsurface on Earth, and it could likewise support any extant biosphere on Mars, where stable habitable environments are probably limited to the subsurface. Faulting and fracturing may stimulate the supply of H2 from several sources. We report the H2 content of fluids present in terrestrial rocks formed by brittle fracturing on fault planes (pseudotachylites and cataclasites), along with protolith control samples...
September 2016: Astrobiology
Rebecca A Daly, Mikayla A Borton, Michael J Wilkins, David W Hoyt, Duncan J Kountz, Richard A Wolfe, Susan A Welch, Daniel N Marcus, Ryan V Trexler, Jean D MacRae, Joseph A Krzycki, David R Cole, Paula J Mouser, Kelly C Wrighton
Hydraulic fracturing is the industry standard for extracting hydrocarbons from shale formations. Attention has been paid to the economic benefits and environmental impacts of this process, yet the biogeochemical changes induced in the deep subsurface are poorly understood. Recent single-gene investigations revealed that halotolerant microbial communities were enriched after hydraulic fracturing. Here, the reconstruction of 31 unique genomes coupled to metabolite data from the Marcellus and Utica shales revealed that many of the persisting organisms play roles in methylamine cycling, ultimately supporting methanogenesis in the deep biosphere...
September 5, 2016: Nature Microbiology
Takuro Nunoura, Miho Hirai, Yukari Yoshida-Takashima, Manabu Nishizawa, Shinsuke Kawagucci, Taichi Yokokawa, Junichi Miyazaki, Osamu Koide, Hiroko Makita, Yoshihiro Takaki, Michinari Sunamura, Ken Takai
The Japan Trench is located under the eutrophic Northwestern Pacific while the Mariana Trench that harbors the unique hadal planktonic biosphere is located under the oligotrophic Pacific. Water samples from the sea surface to just above the seafloor at a total of 11 stations including a trench axis station, were investigated several months after the Tohoku Earthquake in March 2011. High turbidity zones in deep waters were observed at most of the sampling stations. The small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene community structures in the hadal waters (water depths below 6000 m) at the trench axis station were distinct from those in the overlying meso-, bathy and abyssopelagic waters (water depths between 200 and 1000 m, 1000 and 4000 m, and 4000 and 6000 m, respectively), although the SSU rRNA gene sequences suggested that potential heterotrophic bacteria dominated in all of the waters...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Rachael Hazael, Filip Meersman, Fumihisa Ono, Paul F McMillan
Facts concerning the stability and functioning of key biomolecular components suggest that cellular life should no longer be viable above a few thousand atmospheres (200-300 MPa). However, organisms are seen to survive in the laboratory to much higher pressures, extending into the GPa or even tens of GPa ranges. This is causing main questions to be posed concerning the survival mechanisms of simple to complex organisms. Understanding the ultimate pressure survival of organisms is critical for food sterilization and agricultural products conservation technologies...
August 17, 2016: Life
Paula J Mouser, Mikayla Borton, Thomas H Darrah, Angela Hartsock, Kelly C Wrighton
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are increasingly used for recovering energy resources in black shales across the globe. Although newly drilled wells are providing access to rocks and fluids from kilometer depths to study the deep biosphere, we have much to learn about microbial ecology of shales before and after 'fracking'. Recent studies provide a framework for considering how engineering activities alter this rock-hosted ecosystem. We first provide data on the geochemical environment and microbial habitability in pristine shales...
November 2016: FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Mario López-Pérez, Nikole E Kimes, Jose M Haro-Moreno, Francisco Rodriguez-Valera
We have used two metagenomic approaches, direct sequencing of natural samples and sequencing after enrichment, to characterize communities of prokaryotes associated to particles. In the first approximation, different size filters (0.22 and 5 μm) were used to identify prokaryotic microbes of free-living and particle-attached bacterial communities in the Mediterranean water column. A subtractive metagenomic approach was used to characterize the dominant microbial groups in the large size fraction that were not present in the free-living one...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Jonathan P Badalamenti, Zarath M Summers, Chi Ho Chan, Jeffrey A Gralnick, Daniel R Bond
Reaching a depth of 713 m below the surface, the Soudan Underground Iron Mine (Soudan, MN, USA) transects a massive Archaean (2.7 Ga) banded iron formation, providing a remarkably accessible window into the terrestrial deep biosphere. Despite organic carbon limitation, metal-reducing microbial communities are present in potentially ancient anoxic brines continuously emanating from exploratory boreholes on Level 27. Using graphite electrodes deposited in situ as bait, we electrochemically enriched and isolated a novel halophilic iron-reducing Deltaproteobacterium, 'Desulfuromonas soudanensis' strain WTL, from an acetate-fed three-electrode bioreactor poised at +0...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Bibiana G Crespo, Philip J Wallhead, Ramiro Logares, Carlos Pedrós-Alió
High-throughput sequencing (HTS) techniques have suggested the existence of a wealth of species with very low relative abundance: the rare biosphere. We attempted to exhaustively map this rare biosphere in two water samples by performing an exceptionally deep pyrosequencing analysis (~500,000 final reads per sample). Species data were derived by a 97% identity criterion and various parametric distributions were fitted to the observed counts. Using the best-fitting Sichel distribution we estimate a total species richness of 1,568-1,669 (95% Credible Interval) and 5,027-5,196 for surface and deep water samples respectively, implying that 84-89% of the total richness in those two samples was sequenced, and we predict that a quadrupling of the present sequencing effort would suffice to observe 90% of the total richness in both samples...
2016: PloS One
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