Distribution of anaerobic methane-oxidizing and sulfate-reducing communities in the G11 Nyegga pockmark, Norwegian Sea.Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 2011; 100(4):639-53AV
Pockmarks are seabed geological structures sustaining methane seepage in cold seeps. Based on RNA-derived sequences the active fraction of the archaeal community was analysed in sediments associated with the G11 pockmark, in the Nyegga region of the Norwegian Sea. The anaerobic methanotrophic Archaea (ANME) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) communities were studied as well. The vertical distribution of the archaeal community assessed by PCR-DGGE highlighted the presence of ANME-2 in surface sediments, and ANME-1 in deeper sediments. Enrichments of methanogens showed the presence of hydrogenotrophic methanogens of the Methanogenium genus in surface sediment layers as well. The active fraction of the archaeal community was uniquely composed of ANME-2 in the shallow sulfate-rich sediments. Functional methyl coenzyme M reductase gene libraries showed that sequences affiliated with the ANME-1 and ANME-3 groups appeared in the deeper sediments but ANME-2 dominated both surface and deeper layers. Finally, dissimilatory sulfite reductase gene libraries revealed a high SRB diversity (i.e. Desulfobacteraceae, Desulfobulbaceae, Syntrophobacteraceae and Firmicutes) in the shallow sulfate-rich sediments. The SRB diversity was much lower in the deeper section. Overall, these results show that the microbial community in sediments associated with a pockmark harbour classical cold seep ANME and SRB communities.