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Geophysical Monograph Series

 

Keywords

  • Deep-sea ecology—Congresses
  • Mid-ocean ridges—Congresses

Article

GEOPHYSICAL MONOGRAPH SERIES, VOL. 144, PP. 369-381, 2004

Distribution of unusual archaea in subsurface biosphere

Ken Takai

Subground Animalcule Retrieval (SUGAR) Project, Frontier Research System for Extremophiles, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan


Fumio Inagaki

Subground Animalcule Retrieval (SUGAR) Project, Frontier Research System for Extremophiles, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan


Koki Horikoshi

Subground Animalcule Retrieval (SUGAR) Project, Frontier Research System for Extremophiles, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan


Recent microbiological surveys of terrestrial and oceanic subsurface biospheres have revealed that sizable microbial populations are present in global subsurface environments. However, little is known about the community structure, genetic diversity, and distribution pattern of subsurface bacteria and archaea since these surveys are mainly dependent on microscopic observations and conventional cultivation techniques. Culture-independent, molecular phylogenetic techniques are now utilized to explore microbial communities in various subsurface environments such as underground mines, subterrestrial rocks, continental and ocean oil reservoirs, subseafloor sediments and subvent microbial ecosystems. It has become apparent that unique archaeal components are commonly present in these subsurface microbial habitats. The most frequently recovered genetic signatures are of members of the hyperthermophiles Thermococcus. Their unexpected ubiquity even in non-extreme subsurface environments may represent the great biomass potential of probably dormant extremophilic archaea in the global subsurface biosphere. Archaeal populations in deep-sea hydrothermal vents and subvent environments might serve as sources of dormant extremophiles. It therefore appears likely that global and local ocean hydrothermal activities have had a persistent and significant impact on the formation of subsurface microbial communities and the distribution of subsurface microorganisms.

Citation: Takai, K., F. Inagaki, and K. Horikoshi (2004), Distribution of unusual archaea in subsurface biosphere, in The Subseafloor Biosphere at Mid-Ocean Ridges, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 144, edited by W. S. Wilcock et al., pp. 369–381, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/144GM23.

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