Zonation of Microbial Communities by a Hydrothermal Mound in the Atlantis II Deep (the Red Sea)

Yong Wang, Jiang Tao Li, Li Sheng He, Bo Yang, Zhao Ming Gao, Hui Luo Cao, Zenon B. Batang, Abdulaziz M. Al-Suwailem, Pei-Yuan Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In deep-sea geothermal rift zones, the dispersal of hydrothermal fluids of moderately-high temperatures typically forms subseafloor mounds. Major mineral components of the crust covering the mound are barite and metal sulfides. As a result of the continental rifting along the Red Sea, metalliferous sediments accumulate on the seafloor of the Atlantis II Deep. In the present study, a barite crust was identified in a sediment core from the Atlantis II Deep, indicating the formation of a hydrothermal mound at the sampling site. Here, we examined how such a dense barite crust could affect the local environment and the distribution of microbial inhabitants. Our results demonstrate distinctive features of mineral components and microbial communities in the sediment layers separated by the barite crust. Within the mound, archaea accounted for 65% of the community. In contrast, the sediments above the barite boundary were overwhelmed by bacteria. The composition of microbial communities under the mound was similar to that in the sediments of the nearby Discovery Deep and marine cold seeps. This work reveals the zonation of microbial communities after the formation of the hydrothermal mound in the subsurface sediments of the rift basin.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0140766
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2015

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