Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hydrothermal vents: Hot spots of microbial diversity

08.10.2007
New analysis aids in discovery of thousands of deep-sea microbes

Thousands of new kinds of marine microbes have been discovered at two deep-sea hydrothermal vents off the Oregon coast by scientists at the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) and University of Washington’s Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean. Their findings, published in the October 5 issue of the journal Science, are the result of the most comprehensive, comparative study to date of deep-sea microbial communities that are responsible for cycling carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur to help keep Earth habitable.

Using a new analytical technique called “454 tag sequencing,” the scientists surveyed one million DNA sequences of bacteria and archaea, two of the three major domains of life. The DNA was taken from samples collected from two hydrothermal vents on the Pacific deep-sea volcano, Axial Seamount.

The researchers discovered that while there may be as few as 3,000 different kinds of archaea at these sites, the bacteria exceed 37,000 different kinds.

“Most of these bacteria had never been reported before, and hundreds were so different from known microbes that we could only identify them to the level of phylum,” says lead author, Julie Huber of the MBL. “Clearly, additional sampling of these communities will be necessary to determine the true diversity.”

The research also revealed that the microbial population structures differed between vent sites due to their different geochemical environments. The ability to link environmental characteristics with microbial population structures using 454 tag sequencing allows scientists to assess how natural and manmade environmental changes are affecting diverse habitats on Earth.

Until now, microbiologists have had limited tools for assessing microbial populations and diversity. The MBL’s 454 tag sequencing strategy is an important contribution to the young science of metagenomics, which seeks to characterize communities of organisms through genomic analysis. While other metagenomic studies look at all the genes in an environmental sample, such as a bucket of seawater or scoop of sediment, 454 tag sequencing examines one tiny, highly variable region of one gene that all microbes have (the 16s rRNA gene). It is much more efficient and cost effective than other environmental microbial survey tools.

“The tremendous diversity we found using 454 tag sequencing suggests that even the largest metagenomic surveys--which capture only the most highly abundant taxa-- inadequately represent the full extent of microbial diversity,” says MBL scientist David Mark Welch, one of Huber’s co-authors. “Even with tag sequencing, statistical tests of our data suggest we still only sampled about half of the total number of species that were actually present.”

The new findings also underscore just how daunting understanding marine microbial diversity is. “This research demonstrates that surveys of hundreds of thousands of sequences will be necessary to capture the vast diversity of microbial communities, and that different patterns in evenness for both high and low-abundance taxa may be important in defining microbial ecosystem dynamics,” says Mitchell Sogin, director of the MBL’s Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution.

This research is part of the ongoing International Census of Marine Microbes, a massive effort to inventory the world’s marine microbial diversity. It is also part of a major MBL initiative to study microbial ecology and evolution to understand how microbial communities are evolving in response to natural and human-induced environmental changes.

Gina Hebert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mbl.edu

Further reports about: Communities Environmental MBL Sequencing diversity

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond
21.11.2017 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht The main switch
21.11.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>