The enigma of prokaryotic life in deep hypersaline anoxic basins

Paul W J J Van Der Wielen*, Henk Bolhuis, Sara Borin, Daniele Daffonchio, Cesare Corselli, Laura Giuliano, Giuseppe D'Auria, Gert J. De Lange, Andreas Huebner, Sotirios P. Varnavas, John Thomson, Christian Tamburini, Danielle Marty, Terry J. McGenity, Kenneth N. Timmis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations

Abstract

Deep hypersaline anoxic basins in the Mediterranean Sea are a legacy of dissolution of ancient subterranean salt deposits from the Miocene period. Our study revealed that these hypersaline basins are not biogeochemical dead ends, but support in situ sulfate reduction, methanogenesis, and heterotrophic activity. A wide diversity of prokaryotes was observed, including a new, abundant, deeply branching order within the Euryarchaeota. Furthermore, we demonstrated the presence of a unique, metabolically active microbial community in the Discovery basin, which is one of the most extreme terrestrial saline environments known, as it is almost saturated with MgCl2 (5 M).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-123
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume307
Issue number5706
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 7 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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