Format

Send to

Choose Destination
ISME J. 2011 Nov;5(11):1748-58. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2011.48. Epub 2011 May 5.

Ultra-diffuse hydrothermal venting supports Fe-oxidizing bacteria and massive umber deposition at 5000 m off Hawaii.

Author information

1
Geomicrobiology Group, Marine Environmental Biology Section, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA. kje@usc.edu

Abstract

A novel hydrothermal field has been discovered at the base of Lōihi Seamount, Hawaii, at 5000 mbsl. Geochemical analyses demonstrate that 'FeMO Deep', while only 0.2 °C above ambient seawater temperature, derives from a distal, ultra-diffuse hydrothermal source. FeMO Deep is expressed as regional seafloor seepage of gelatinous iron- and silica-rich deposits, pooling between and over basalt pillows, in places over a meter thick. The system is capped by mm to cm thick hydrothermally derived iron-oxyhydroxide- and manganese-oxide-layered crusts. We use molecular analyses (16S rDNA-based) of extant communities combined with fluorescent in situ hybridizations to demonstrate that FeMO Deep deposits contain living iron-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria related to the recently isolated strain Mariprofundus ferroxydans. Bioenergetic calculations, based on in-situ electrochemical measurements and cell counts, indicate that reactions between iron and oxygen are important in supporting chemosynthesis in the mats, which we infer forms a trophic base of the mat ecosystem. We suggest that the biogenic FeMO Deep hydrothermal deposit represents a modern analog for one class of geological iron deposits known as 'umbers' (for example, Troodos ophilolites, Cyprus) because of striking similarities in size, setting and internal structures.

PMID:
21544100
PMCID:
PMC3197161
DOI:
10.1038/ismej.2011.48
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center