Navigation Links
Scientists find bacteria thriving on a feast of seafloor rock
Date:5/28/2008

On the deep ocean floor, microbial life is feeding on fresh volcanic rock and flourishing with greater abundance than even the most optimistic scientists thought possible. According to a study published May 28 in the journal Nature, scientists have found bacteria growing on oceanic crust in concentrations that are thousands- to ten-thousand times (three to four orders of magnitude) greater than what is found in the overlying waters.

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the University of Southern California (USC), and four other institutions collected and examined rock and water samples from the East Pacific Rise, the Nankai Trough, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Sargasso Sea, and the seafloor near Hawaii. They used various molecular and genetic analysis tools (such as quantitative polymerase chain reaction and clone libraries) to quantify the abundance, richness, and diversity of communities of bacteria living on young ocean crust.

What they found was a community of microbesgrowing without light and eating rocksthat is as fertile and prodigious as what can be found in terrestrial farm soil. Such seafloor microbes have been detected before, but this is the first time that they have been quantified.

We were truly shocked to find microbial life thriving at the levels we observed, said Cara Santelli, a recent graduate of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and now a postdoctoral scholar at Harvard University. Santelli conducted the research with geochemists Katrina Edwards and Wolfgang Bach while all three were in Woods Hole. Edwards is now at USC, while Bach has moved to the University of Bremen.

Theoretical research by Edwards and Bach had suggested that life could exist in such a dark, cold, and rocky environment, said Santelli, lead author on the Nature paper. The objective of our project was to provide tangible evidence. Not only was the biomass in seafloor lava greater than in the overlying seawater, but the bacterial diversity was significantly greater than we could have imagined.

The findings open up new questions about the evolution of Earth and of seafloor life.

We are just beginning to scratch the surface, Santelli said. What role does this microbial community play in global ocean chemistry" What sort of metabolism is needed to live in and dominate this environment" And what exactly are these microbes doing down there"


'/>"/>

Contact: Media Relations
media@whoi.edu
508-289-3340
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Leiden scientists sequence first female DNA
2. Scientists announce top 10 new species, issue SOS
3. U-M scientists remove thousands of aspens to glimpse forests future
4. Scientists reveal the lifestyle evolution of wild marine bacteria
5. Scientists discover a molecular scaffold that guides connections between brain cells
6. Scientists paint viruses to track their fate in the body
7. Incense is psychoactive: Scientists identify the biology behind the ceremony
8. Scientists decipher fruit tree genome for the first time
9. Scientists discover small RNAs that regulate gene expression and protect the genome
10. Argonne scientists use lasers to align molecules
11. Too hot to handle! Scientists identify heat sensing regulator
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/6/2016)... Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH) (the "Company") today ... principal amount of its 1.414% senior unsecured notes due 2022 ... notes due 2026. The closing of the ... the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.  The notes will pay ... The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 1, 2016   SoftServe ... announced BioLock , an electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor ... monitoring, a key IoT asset. The smart system ... a vehicle,s steering wheel and mobile devices to ... touch. As vehicle technology advances, so ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... Nearly one billion matches per second with DERMALOG,s ... ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric ... Management. (PRNewsFoto/DERMALOG Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The company's Fingerprint Identification System is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... 09, 2016 , ... There’s a winning streak at Voxx Analytics: the tech ... after winning the award last year as well. Employees nominate their companies for the ... Vesely pointed to the tech company’s upbeat environment as a reason. “We don’t answer ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... 09, 2016 , ... Aditya Humad, Acting CFO of AxioMed and Managing Partner ... United States, Axiomed is now gaining interest from Silicon Valley. “It was satisfying to ... went on to say that, “We expect interest to continue to rise as AxioMed ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... PHILADELPHIA , Dec. 9, 2016  A ... Temple University are moving one step closer to ... orthopedic applications. OrthoMend Research, Inc., a start-up company ... acquired the exclusive license for these novel absorbable ... to develop them for commercial use. The company ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... - Portage Biotech Inc. ("Portage" or "the Company") (OTC: ... that Biohaven has issued today the following press release: ... (PRWEB) Dec 9, 2016 - Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company ... U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") has granted the ... BHV-0223, an orally dissolving tablet being developed for the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: