Archaea in Mediterranean Sea Cold Seep Sediments and Brine Pools
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Cold seeps host intense and complex biochemical processes, in particular methane and sulfur cycling. Microorganisms are key players in these habitats, producing or oxidizing methane, and reducing sulfate. Mediterranean cold seep mud volcanoes are natural laboratories allowing to study how reducing fluids from different volcanoes with distinct connections to the marine subsurface, influence composition and activities of benthic microbial communities. Methane-producing and-oxidizing archaea were detected in mud volcanoes associated with different seepage intensities, in hypersaline brine-impacted sediments, as well as in pockmark structures. Because the muds and fluids expelled from the center of the mud volcanoes ascend from deep sources, they could be windows into the deep biosphere, allowing a glimpse into the diversity of communities surviving in the deep subsurface.
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