, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 516-527
Date: 17 Apr 2010

Active Archaeal Communities at Cold Seep Sediments Populated by Siboglinidae Tubeworms from the Storegga Slide

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Siboglinid tubeworms in cold seep sediments can locally modify the geochemical gradients of electron acceptors and donors, hence creating potential microhabitats for prokaryotic populations. The archaeal communities associated with sediments populated by Oligobrachia haakonmosbiensis and Sclerolinum contortum Siboglinid tubeworms in the Storegga Slide were examined in this study. Vertical distribution of archaeal communities was investigated using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis based on 16S rRNA genes. The active fraction of the archaeal community was assessed by using reverse-transcribed rRNA. Archaeal communities associated with sediments colonized by tubeworms were affiliated with uncultivated archaeal lineages of the Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota. The composition of the active archaeal populations changed with depth indicating a reorganization of microbial communities. 16S rRNA gene libraries were dominated by sequences affiliated to the Rice Cluster V which are unusual in marine sediment samples. Moreover, this study provides the first evidence of living Crenarchaeota of the Rice Cluster V in cold seep sediments. Furthermore, the Storegga Slide sediments harbored a high diversity of other minor groups of uncultivated lineages including Terrestrial Miscellaneous Euryarchaeotal Group, Marine Benthic Group (MBG)-D, MBG-E, Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Euryarchaeotal Group, Lake Dagow Sediment, Val Kotinen Lake clade III, and Sippenauer Moor 1. Thus, we hypothesize that the vertical geochemical imprint created by the tubeworms could support broad active archaeal populations in the Siboglinidae-populated Storegga Slide sediments.