Microbial diversity in Cenozoic sediments recovered from the Lomonosov Ridge in the Central Arctic Basin

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Summary: The current understanding of microbes inhabiting deeply buried marine sediments is based largely on samples collected from continental shelves in tropical and temperate latitudes. The geographical range of marine subsurface coring was expanded during the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Arctic Coring Expedition (IODP ACEX). This expedition to the ice-covered central Arctic Ocean successfully cored the entire 428 m sediment stack on the Lomonosov Ridge during August and September 2004. The recovered cores vary from siliciclastic sediment low in organic carbon (< 0.2%) to organic rich (∼3%) black sediments that rapidly accumulated in the early middle Eocene. Three geochemical environments were characterized based on chemical analyses of porewater: an upper ammonium oxidation zone, a carbonate dissolution zone and a deep (> 200 m below sea floor) sulfate reduction zone. The diversity of microbes within each zone was assessed using 16S rRNA phylogenetic markers. Bacterial 16S rRNA genes were successfully amplified from each of the biogeochemical zones, while archaea was only amplified from the deep sulfate reduction zone. The microbial communities at each zone are phylogenetically different and are most closely related to those from other deep subsurface environments. © 2008 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Environmental Microbiology