DCO Project Summary

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Project Title
Integrated Metagenomic and Metatranscriptomic Analyses of Active Microbial Communities Involved in Carbon Metabolism at a Tropical Serpentinizing Environment (Santa Elena Ophiolite, Costa Rica)
Start DateEnd Date
2014-05-01 2014-12-31
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The Santa Elena Ophiolite comprises 250 km2 of ultramafic rocks and mafic associations along the northwestern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Uplifted ultramafic rocks originating from the Earth’s mantle represent a reservoir of carbon and reducing power, which during the process of serpentinization, are liberated into the surface environment, potentially supporting microbial growth. The extremely variable weather conditions that occur on the Santa Elena Peninsula between the wet (May – October) and dry (November – April) seasons result in a unique hydrogeological environment. Contrary to other continental serpentinization environments (e.g., Tablelands, Canada; Western Coastal Range, USA; Gruppo di Voltri, Italy), in this tropical scenario, precipitation quantities and intensities are usually greater and occur during extended periods of time, which facilitate infiltration, accelerating water-rock interactions and liberating carbon and energy to the surface environment. These extreme seasonal events provide a unique opportunity to investigate the response of microbial metabolisms (at the interface of deep carbon and energy fluxes) under a dynamic subsurface hydrology setting. During an expedition in March 2013, a series of alkaline springs along the peninsula were sampled. Preliminary V4-V5 sequence data suggests that these fluids had low diversity and that indicated the presence of microorganisms involved in hydrogen, methane, and methanol metabolism, including bacteria from the genera Hydrogenophaga and Methylibium and from the family Methylophilaceae, as well as archaea from the orders Methanobacteriales, Methanocellales, and Methanomicrobiales. In this project we intend to demonstrate the links between geochemistry, hydrology, and microbial activities related to subsurface processes at Santa Elena Ophiolite. We propose to apply metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analysis to one representative alkaline spring (Spring 9) and its corresponding background sample (Murcielago Upstream). 

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Reporting Year 2014 Click to expand

  • RY2014-1 - submitted on Aug 31, 2014

    Update Details:

    Samples will be sent to MBL for DNA sequencing
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