Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Rev Mar Sci. 2010;2:279-304.

Microbial provinces in the subseafloor.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Howell Science Complex, Greenville, North Carolina 27858, USA. schrenkm@ecu.edu

Abstract

The rocks and sediments of the oceanic subsurface represent a diverse mosaic of environments potentially inhabited by microorganisms. Understanding microbial ecosystems in subseafloor environments confounds standard ecological descriptions in part because we have difficulty elucidating and describing the scale of relevant processes. Habitat characteristics impact microbial activities and growth, which in turn affect microbial diversity, net production, and global biogeochemical cycles. Herein we provide descriptions of subseafloor microbial provinces, broadly defined as geologically and geographically coherent regions of the subseafloor that may serve as potential microbial habitats. The purpose of this review is to summarize and refine criteria for the definition and delineation of distinct subseafloor microbial habitats to aid in their exploration. This review and the criteria we outline aim to develop a unified framework to improve our understanding of subseafloor microbial ecology, enable quantification of geomicrobial processes, and facilitate their accurate assimilation into biogeochemical models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center