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Project Title
Microbial Diversity in Subseafloor Sediments Hosting Gas Hydrates
Start DateEnd Date
2011-01-01 2013-12-31
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Gas hydrate systems are often composed of biologically produced methane, yet we are still trying to understand fundamental aspects about the microbial processes that cycle the carbon in hydrate-rich sediments. Microbes responsible for the creation of the methane that exists in hydrates and the processes that they carry out need to be characterized in order to fully understand the role of the largest methane reservoir on the planet. Furthermore, a more complete accounting of the types of microbes present and the diversity of Bacteria and Archaea that occur in and near sediments where hydrates exist is needed in order to develop conceptual models of the biological representatives of these globally significant deep strata. Our goal is to examine the relationship of microbial community diversity to environmental parameters in deep methane hydrate-bearing marine sediments. Analysis of the microbial communities using deep DNA sequencing technology will provide an assessment of the key microbes in these samples where microbially produced methane accumulates in hydrates and where other microbes may play a role in consuming the methane.

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Reporting Year 2014 Click to expand

  • RY2014-1 - submitted on Aug 31, 2014

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    Firmicutes (Bacteria) dominate in low-biomass sediments rich in methane and methane hydrates and Archaea are notably absent (Briggs et al. 2012). This research also contributed to the study of diversity of multivariate objects (e.g., macrobiota, microbial communities, and human organizations). That research found that studying the diversity of such objects is thematically similar and that the large and complex datasets that are common to each of these systems benefit from the same framework for analysis using theoretical information visualization and visual analytics (Pham et al. 2014).


    B. R. Briggs, F. Inagaki, Y. Morono, T. Futagami, C. Huguet, A. Rosell-Mele, T. D. Lorenson, F. S. Colwell, Bacterial dominance in subseafloor sediments characterized by methane hydrates. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 81, 88-98 (2012); published online EpubJul (10.1111/j.1574-6941.2012.01311.x).


    T. Pham, J. Jones, R. Metoyer, F. Colwell, Toward exploratory analysis of diversity unified across fields of study: an information visualization approach. Environ. Earth Sci. DOI 10.1007/s12665-014-3365-8,  (2014).

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