R. B. Pedersen

University of Bergen, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway

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Publications (79)172.04 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps are biological hot spots with chemolithotrophic bacterial production sustaining both benthic and pelagic organisms. Although efforts have been made to understand the diversity and function of the bacterial composition of these systems, first-level consumers, pelagic single cell heterotrophic organisms, which represent an important link between bacterial production and higher trophic levels, remain un-described in hydrothermal vents and seeps of the Nordic Seas. Here, we used a molecular biodiversity assay to investigate the impact of water masses and hydrothermal vents on the eukaryotic micro-organisms surrounding two vents systems, Jan Mayen Vent Field and Loki‘s Castle, and one cold seep, Ha°kon Mosby Mud Volcano. The assay generated a total of 482 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on a 99 % cut-off value, and the OTUs were grouped according to taxonomic rank. Data analysis using hierarchical clustering and non-metric multidimensional scaling with class as taxonomic entries suggested that water masses followed by depth was the dominant effect on eukaryotic micro-organism diversity. However, in one of the vent systems, Loki‘s Castle, the community was different compared to the reference station. Our data suggest that while the total production of vent systems is higher than the surrounding waters, the biodiversity of eukaryotic micro-organisms is more influenced by both water masses and depth.
    Polar Biology 11/2014; 38(4). DOI:10.1007/s00300-014-1621-8 · 2.07 Impact Factor
  • I. Okland, S. Huang, I.H. Thorseth, R.B. Pedersen
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrogen, methane and ammonium are important chemical species for chemolithotrophic microorganisms that sustain subsurface endolithic communities. It is well known that production of H2 through serpentinization of the primary Fe(II)-containing minerals, olivine and pyroxene, in ultramafic rocks and reduction of CO2 to CH4 are processes that occur at higher temperatures. Knowledge is, however, limited about these reactions under low-temperature conditions, and how they are affected by Fe(II)-containing secondary minerals, such as brucite and serpentine, which are commonly found in these environments. In this experimental study, we explored the formation of H2, CH4 and NH4 during low-temperature (25 °C) reactions between deionised water and 1) unaltered, 2) medium altered and 3) highly altered dunites, over a period of 99 days.
    Chemical Geology 11/2014; 387:22–34. DOI:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2014.08.003 · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Barite chimneys are known to form in hydrothermal systems where barium-enriched fluids generated by leaching of the oceanic basement are discharged and react with seawater sulfate. They also form at cold seeps along continental margins, where marine (or pelagic) barite in the sediments is remobilized because of subseafloor microbial sulfate reduction. We test the possibility of using multiple sulfur isotopes (δ34S, Δ33S, ∆36S) of barite to identify microbial sulfate reduction in a hydrothermal system. In addition to multiple sulfur isotopes, we present oxygen (δ18O) and strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotopes for one of numerous barite chimneys in a low-temperature (~20 °C) venting area of the Loki's Castle black smoker field at the ultraslow-spreading Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (AMOR). The chemistry of the venting fluids in the barite field identifies a contribution of at least 10% of high-temperature black smoker fluid, which is corroborated by 87Sr/86Sr ratios in the barite chimney that are less radiogenic than in seawater. In contrast, oxygen and multiple sulfur isotopes indicate that the fluid from which the barite precipitated contained residual sulfate that was affected by microbial sulfate reduction. A sulfate reduction zone at this site is further supported by the multiple sulfur isotopic composition of framboidal pyrite in the flow channel of the barite chimney and in the hydrothermal sediments in the barite field, as well as by low SO4 and elevated H2S concentrations in the venting fluids compared with conservative mixing values. We suggest that the mixing of ascending H2- and CH4-rich high-temperature fluids with percolating seawater fuels microbial sulfate reduction, which is subsequently recorded by barite formed at the seafloor in areas where the flow rate is sufficient. Thus, low-temperature precipitates in hydrothermal systems are promising sites to explore the interactions between the geosphere and biosphere in order to evaluate the microbial impact on these systems.
    Geobiology 04/2014; DOI:10.1111/gbi.12086 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CorA is a copper repressible protein previously identified in the methanotrophic bacterium Methylomicrobium album BG8. In this work, we demonstrate that CorA is located on the cell surface and binds one copper ion per protein molecule, which, based on X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure analysis, is in the reduced state (Cu(I)). The structure of endogenously expressed CorA was solved using X-ray crystallography. The 1.6 Å three-dimensional structure confirmed the binding of copper and revealed that the copper atom was coordinated in a mononuclear binding site defined by two histidines, one water molecule, and the tryptophan metabolite, kynurenine. This arrangement of the copper-binding site is similar to that of its homologous protein MopE* from Metylococcus capsulatus Bath, confirming the importance of kynurenine for copper binding in these proteins. Our findings show that CorA has an overall fold similar to MopE, including the unique copper(I)-binding site and most of the secondary structure elements. We suggest that CorA plays a role in the M. album BG8 copper acquisition.
    PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e87750. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0087750 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Formation pathways of ancient siliceous iron formations and related Fe isotopic fractionation are still not completely understood. Investigating these processes, however, is difficult as good modern analogues to ancient iron formations are scarce. Modern siliceous Fe oxyhydroxide deposits are found at marine hydrothermal vent sites, where they precipitate from diffuse, low temperature fluids along faults and fissures on the seafloor. These deposits exhibit textural and chemical features that are similar to some Phanerozoic iron formations, raising the question as to whether the latter could have precipitated from diffuse hydrothermal fluids rather than from hydrothermal plumes. In this study, we present the first data on modern Fe oxyhydroxide deposits from the Jan Mayen hydrothermal vent fields, Norwegian-Greenland Sea. The samples we investigated exhibited very low δ56Fe values between −2.09‰ and −0.66‰. Due to various degrees of partial oxidation, the Fe oxyhydroxides are with one exception either indistinguishable from low-temperature hydrothermal fluids from which they precipitated (−1.84‰ and −1.53‰ in δ56Fe) or are enriched in the heavy Fe isotopes. In addition, we investigated Fe isotope variations in Ordovician jasper beds from the Løkken ophiolite complex, Norway, which have been interpreted to represent diagenetic products of siliceous ferrihydrite precursors that precipitated in a hydrothermal plume, in order to compare different formation pathways of Fe oxyhydroxide deposits. Iron isotopes in the jasper samples have higher δ56Fe values (−0.38‰ to +0.89‰) relative to modern, high-temperature hydrothermal vent fluids (ca. −0.40‰ on average), supporting the fallout model. However, formation of the Ordovician jaspers by diffuse venting cannot be excluded, due to lithological differences of the subsurface of the two investigated vent systems. Our study shows that reliable interpretation of Fe isotope variations in modern and ancient marine Fe oxyhydroxide deposits depends on comprehensive knowledge of the geological context. Furthermore, we demonstrate that very negative δ56Fe values in such samples might not be the result of microbial dissimilatory iron reduction, but could be caused instead by inorganic reactions.
    Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 02/2014; 126:422–440. DOI:10.1016/j.gca.2013.11.018 · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In marine sediments archaea often constitute a considerable part of the microbial community, of which the Deep Sea Archaeal Group (DSAG) is one of the most predominant. Despite their high abundance no members from this archaeal group have so far been characterized and thus their metabolism is unknown. Here we show that the relative abundance of DSAG marker genes can be correlated with geochemical parameters, allowing prediction of both the potential electron donors and acceptors of these organisms. We estimated the abundance of 16S rRNA genes from Archaea, Bacteria, and DSAG in 52 sediment horizons from two cores collected at the slow-spreading Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge, using qPCR. The results indicate that members of the DSAG make up the entire archaeal population in certain horizons and constitute up to ~50% of the total microbial community. The quantitative data were correlated to 30 different geophysical and geochemical parameters obtained from the same sediment horizons. We observed a significant correlation between the relative abundance of DSAG 16S rRNA genes and the content of organic carbon (p < 0.0001). Further, significant co-variation with iron oxide, and dissolved iron and manganese (all p < 0.0000), indicated a direct or indirect link to iron and manganese cycling. Neither of these parameters correlated with the relative abundance of archaeal or bacterial 16S rRNA genes, nor did any other major electron donor or acceptor measured. Phylogenetic analysis of DSAG 16S rRNA gene sequences reveals three monophyletic lineages with no apparent habitat-specific distribution. In this study we support the hypothesis that members of the DSAG are tightly linked to the content of organic carbon and directly or indirectly involved in the cycling of iron and/or manganese compounds. Further, we provide a molecular tool to assess their abundance in environmental samples and enrichment cultures.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 10/2013; 4:299. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00299 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are unique environments on Earth, as they host chemosynthetic ecosystems fuelled by geochemical energy with chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms at the basis of the foodwebs. Whereas discrete high-temperature venting systems have been studied extensively, the microbiotas associated with low temperature diffuse venting are not well understood. We analysed the structure and functioning of microbial communities in two diffuse venting sediments from the Jan Mayen vent fields in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, applying an integrated 'omics' approach combining meta-transcriptomics, -proteomics and -genomics. PCR-independent three-domain community profiling showed that the two sediments hosted highly similar communities dominated by Epsilon-, Delta- and Gamma-Proteobacteria, besides ciliates, nematodes and various archaeal taxa. Active metabolic pathways were identified through transcripts and peptides, with genes of sulfur and methane oxidation, and carbon fixation pathways highly expressed, in addition to genes of aerobic and anaerobic (nitrate and sulfate) respiratory chains. High expression of chemotaxis and flagella genes reflected a lifestyle in a dynamic habitat rich in physico-chemical gradients. The major metabolic pathways could be assigned to distinct taxonomic groups, thus enabling hypotheses about the function of the different pro- and eukaryotic taxa. This study advances our understanding of the functioning of microbial communities in diffuse hydrothermal venting sediments.
    Environmental Microbiology 09/2013; 16(9). DOI:10.1111/1462-2920.12283 · 6.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of DNA as a marker for prey inside the gut of predators has been instrumental in further understanding of known and unknown interactions. Molecular approaches are in particular useful in unavailable environments like the deep sea. Trophic interactions in the deep sea are difficult to observe in situ, correct deep-sea experimental laboratory conditions are difficult to obtain, animals rarely survive the sampling, or the study organisms feed during the sampling due to long hauls. Preliminary studies of vent and seep systems in the Nordic Seas have identified the temperate-cold-water pelagic amphipod Themisto abyssorum as a potentially important predator in these chemosynthetic habitats. However, the prey of this deep-sea predator is poorly known, and we applied denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) to investigate the predator-prey interactions of T. abyssorum in deep-water vent and seep systems. Two deep-water hydrothermally active localities (The Jan Mayen and Loki's Castle vent fields) and one cold seep locality (The Håkon Mosby mud volcano) in the Nordic Seas were sampled, genomic DNA of the stomachs of T. abyssorum was extracted, and 18S rDNA gene was amplified and used to map the stomach content. We found a wide range of organisms including micro-eukaryotes, metazoans and detritus. Themisto abyssorum specimens from Loki's Castle had the highest diversity of prey. The wide range of prey items found suggests that T. abyssorum might be involved in more than one trophic level and should be regarded as an omnivore and not a strict carnivore as have previously been suggested.
    Molecular Ecology 09/2013; 23(15). DOI:10.1111/mec.12511 · 5.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Epsilonproteobacteria, including members of the genus Sulfurovum, are regarded as important primary producers in hydrothermal systems. However, their in situ gene expression in this habitat has so far not been investigated. We report a metatranscriptomic analysis of a Sulfurovum-dominated biofilm from one of the chimneys at the Loki's Castle hydrothermal system, located at the Arctic Mid Ocean Ridge. Transcripts involved in hydrogen oxidation, oxidation of sulfur species, aerobic respiration and denitrification were abundant and mostly assigned to Sulfurovum, indicating that members of this genus utilize multiple chemical energy sources simultaneously for primary production. Sulfurovum also seemed to have a diverse expression of transposases, potentially involved in horizontal gene transfer. Other transcripts were involved in CO2 fixation by the reverse TCA cycle, the CRISPR-Cas system, heavy metal resistance, and sensing and responding to changing environmental conditions. Through pyrosequencing of PCR amplified 16S rRNA genes, the Sulfurovum-dominated biofilm was compared with another biofilm from the same chimney, revealing a large shift in the community structure of Epsilonproteobacteria-dominated biofilms over a few metres.
    Environmental Microbiology Reports 04/2013; 5(2):282-90. DOI:10.1111/1758-2229.12016 · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Water-rock interactions in ultramafic lithosphere generate reduced chemical species such as hydrogen that can fuel subsurface microbial communities. Sampling of this environment is expensive and technically demanding. However, highly accessible, uplifted oceanic lithospheres emplaced onto continental margins (ophiolites) are potential model systems for studies of the subsurface biosphere in ultramafic rocks. Here, we describe a microbiological investigation of partially serpentinized dunite from the Leka ophiolite (Norway). We analysed samples of mineral coatings on subsurface fracture surfaces from different depths (10-160 cm) and groundwater from a 50-m-deep borehole that penetrates several major fracture zones in the rock. The samples are suggested to represent subsurface habitats ranging from highly anaerobic to aerobic conditions. Water from a surface pond was analysed for comparison. To explore the microbial diversity and to make assessments about potential metabolisms, the samples were analysed by microscopy, construction of small subunit ribosomal RNA gene clone libraries, culturing and quantitative-PCR. Different microbial communities were observed in the groundwater, the fracture-coating material and the surface water, indicating that distinct microbial ecosystems exist in the rock. Close relatives of hydrogen-oxidizing Hydrogenophaga dominated (30% of the bacterial clones) in the oxic groundwater, indicating that microbial communities in ultramafic rocks at Leka could partially be driven by H2 produced by low-temperature water-rock reactions. Heterotrophic organisms, including close relatives of hydrocarbon degraders possibly feeding on products from Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions, dominated in the fracture-coating material. Putative hydrogen-, ammonia-, manganese- and iron-oxidizers were also detected in fracture coatings and the groundwater. The microbial communities reflect the existence of different subsurface redox conditions generated by differences in fracture size and distribution, and mixing of fluids. The particularly dense microbial communities in the shallow fracture coatings seem to be fuelled by both photosynthesis and oxidation of reduced chemical species produced by water-rock reactions.
    Geobiology 03/2013; 11(4). DOI:10.1111/gbi.12035 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With the current availability of high quality optical sensors and the advancements of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), it is becoming increasingly accessible to acquire extremely large sets of benthic habitat images. Manual characterization and classification of such large number of images for relevant geological or benthic features can become very difficult and time consuming. This paper presents a novel method for automated segmentation, classification and thematic mapping of bacterial mat from shell chaff and sand, on mosaics created from an image survey on the North Sea. The proposed method uses completed Gabor filter response, grey level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) and local binary pattern (CLBP) as feature descriptors. After chi-square and Hellinger kernel mapping of feature vector, Probability Density Weighted Mean Distance (PDWMD) is used for classification. Initial segmentation is done using TurboPixels. Our proposed method achieves the highest overall classification accuracy and have moderate execution times compared with the set of methods that are representative of the state-of-the-art in automated classification of seabed images. Our work illustrates that applying automated classification techniques to mosaic composites produces a rapid (in terms of expert annotation time) technique of characterizing benthic areas that can be used to track changes over time.
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    ABSTRACT: Hydrothermal vent systems harbor rich microbial communities ranging from aerobic mesophiles to anaerobic hyperthermophiles. Among these, members of the archaeal domain are prevalent in microbial communities in the most extreme environments, partly because of their temperature-resistant and robust membrane lipids. In this study, we use geochemical and molecular microbiological methods to investigate the microbial diversity in black smoker chimneys from the newly discovered Loki's Castle hydrothermal vent field on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (AMOR) with vent fluid temperatures of 310–320 °C and pH of 5.5. Archaeal glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether lipids (GDGTs) and H-shaped GDGTs with 0–4 cyclopentane moieties were dominant in all sulfide samples and are most likely derived from both (hyper)thermophilic Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeota. Crenarchaeol has been detected in low abundances in samples derived from the chimney exterior indicating the presence of Thaumarchaeota at lower ambient temperatures. Aquificales and members of the Epsilonproteobacteria were the dominant bacterial groups detected. Our observations based on the analysis of 16S rRNA genes and biomarker lipid analysis provide insight into microbial communities thriving within the porous sulfide structures of active and inactive deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Microbial cycling of sulfur, hydrogen, and methane by archaea in the chimney interior and bacteria in the chimney exterior may be the prevailing biogeochemical processes in this system.
    Geobiology 11/2012; 10(6):548-561. DOI:10.1111/gbi.12009 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Microbial communities and their associated metabolic activity in marine sediments have a profound impact on global biogeochemical cycles. Their composition and structure are attributed to geochemical and physical factors, but finding direct correlations has remained a challenge. Here we show a significant statistical relationship between variation in geochemical composition and prokaryotic community structure within deep-sea sediments. We obtained comprehensive geochemical data from two gravity cores near the hydrothermal vent field Loki's Castle at the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge, in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. Geochemical properties in the rift valley sediments exhibited strong centimeter-scale stratigraphic variability. Microbial populations were profiled by pyrosequencing from 15 sediment horizons (59,364 16S rRNA gene tags), quantitatively assessed by qPCR, and phylogenetically analyzed. Although the same taxa were generally present in all samples, their relative abundances varied substantially among horizons and fluctuated between Bacteria- and Archaea-dominated communities. By independently summarizing covariance structures of the relative abundance data and geochemical data, using principal components analysis, we found a significant correlation between changes in geochemical composition and changes in community structure. Differences in organic carbon and mineralogy shaped the relative abundance of microbial taxa. We used correlations to build hypotheses about energy metabolisms, particularly of the Deep Sea Archaeal Group, specific Deltaproteobacteria, and sediment lineages of potentially anaerobic Marine Group I Archaea. We demonstrate that total prokaryotic community structure can be directly correlated to geochemistry within these sediments, thus enhancing our understanding of biogeochemical cycling and our ability to predict metabolisms of uncultured microbes in deep-sea sediments.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2012; 109(42):E2846-55. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1207574109 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alteration (serpentinization) of ultramafic rocks is known to generate hydrogen through oxidation of ferrous iron in olivine or pyroxene and reduction of water. Hydrogen oxidation can act as a primary source for chemolithotrophic microbial communities and it is suggested that hydrogen availability is essential for the existence of a deep subsurface biosphere. In this study we focus on ongoing low-temperature water–rock processes in partially serpentinized dunite from the Leka Ophiolite Complex, mid-Norway. We aim to determine whether these reactions release reduced compounds and nutrients that can be utilized by the associated microbial communities. The study is based on the chemical and physical alteration features of a 51 m deep rock core as well as the chemical composition of groundwater from the core's borehole. The borehole intersects three main fracture zones. Observations during drilling indicated that water infiltration largely takes place along the deepest zone. The rock in the fracture zones is nearly completely altered to serpentine, brucite, magnetite and minor calcite. An increase in pH and decrease in Mg, Si and alkalinity of the groundwater along the borehole from the deepest to the outermost fracture zone reflect ongoing water–rock reactions where dissolution of brucite, serpentine and calcite and precipitation of chrysotile, hydromagnesite and iron-hydroxide are most likely to occur. Detection of both H2 and O2 in the groundwater influenced by the outermost fracture zone suggests that the local development of highly reducing conditions in the narrow fractures is due to low water/rock ratios and to dissolution of Fe(II)-containing brucite and serpentine resulting in the formation and successive diffusion of H2 into the oxic borehole. Oxidation of H2, reduced Fe and Mn, NH4+ and CH4 are all potential energy-yielding reactions that could be utilized by chemolithotrophic microorganisms using dissolved organic or inorganic carbon as possible carbon sources. Methane could result from microbial oxidation of H2 and reduction of CO2, or from the degradation of organic matter. The results demonstrate that low-temperature water–rock reactions in serpentinized ultramafic rock lead to production of reduced chemical species that could support primary producers in diverse microbial communities.
    Chemical Geology 07/2012; s 318–319:75–87. DOI:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2012.05.015 · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present investigation uncovers various pieces of evidence for the possible biologically induced mineralization in iron mats associated with a pH-neutral spring in the Borra caves, Vishakhapatnam, India. Electron microscopy [scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM)] demonstrated large numbers of (i) hollow tubes (diameter ∼1 μm) resembling sheaths of the iron-oxidizing bacteria Leptothrix, (ii) thin (diameter <1 μm) solid fibers of uncertain origin, (iii) nanoscale subspherical to irregularly shaped particles encrusting tubes and fibers, and (iv) aggregates of broken and partially disintegrated sheaths, fibers, and particles embedded in extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) occasionally including microbial cells. X-ray microanalyses by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) revealed that the mat accumulated largely Fe but also smaller amounts of Si and traces of P and Ca. Particles rich in Si and Al (possibly kaolinite) and Ca (carbonate) were also observed. High-resolution TEM/EDS of unstained ultrathin sections suggests that microbial sheaths were highly mineralized by amorphous to cryptocrystalline Fe-rich phases and less frequently by other fine-grained and fibrous authigenic claylike minerals. Total number of microorganisms in the iron mats was 5.8×10(5) cells, g sed(-1) (wet weight). Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene diversity revealed microorganisms assigned to eight different phyla [Proteobacteria (62%), Chloroflexi (8%), Bacteroidetes (7%), Planctomycetes (1%), Actinobacteria (5%), Acidobacteria (6%), Nitrospira (1%), Firmicutes (5%)]. Within the Proteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria was the predominant class, which accounted for 28% of the sequences. Within this class some obvious similarities between the obtained sequences and sequences from other cave systems could be seen, especially sequences affiliated with Leptothrix, Siderooxidans, Crenothrix, Comamonadaceae, Dechloromonas, and many uncultured Betaproteobacteria. Four (4%) of the sequences could not be assigned to phylum level but were affiliating with the candidate division TM7 (2%), candidate division OP11 (1%), and candidate division WWE3 (1%). The results allow us to infer a possible relationship of microbial sheaths, EPS, and the iron precipitates to microbial community diversity in the Borra cave springs. Understanding biogenic iron oxides in caves has important astrobiological applications as it provides a potential tool for the detection of extraterrestrial life.
    Astrobiology 04/2012; 12(4):327-46. DOI:10.1089/ast.2011.0672 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Mid-Cayman spreading centre is an ultraslow-spreading ridge in the Caribbean Sea. Its extreme depth and geographic isolation from other mid-ocean ridges offer insights into the effects of pressure on hydrothermal venting, and the biogeography of vent fauna. Here we report the discovery of two hydrothermal vent fields on the Mid-Cayman spreading centre. The Von Damm Vent Field is located on the upper slopes of an oceanic core complex at a depth of 2,300 m. High-temperature venting in this off-axis setting suggests that the global incidence of vent fields may be underestimated. At a depth of 4,960 m on the Mid-Cayman spreading centre axis, the Beebe Vent Field emits copper-enriched fluids and a buoyant plume that rises 1,100 m, consistent with >400 °C venting from the world's deepest known hydrothermal system. At both sites, a new morphospecies of alvinocaridid shrimp dominates faunal assemblages, which exhibit similarities to those of Mid-Atlantic vents.
    Nature Communications 01/2012; 3:620. DOI:10.1038/ncomms1636 · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Mid-Cayman spreading centre is an ultraslow-spreading ridge in the Caribbean Sea. Its extreme depth and geographic isolation from other mid-ocean ridges offer insights into the effects of pressure on hydrothermal venting, and the biogeography of vent fauna. Here we report the discovery of two hydrothermal vent fields on the Mid-Cayman spreading centre. The Von Damm Vent Field is located on the upper slopes of an oceanic core complex at a depth of 2,300 m. High-temperature venting in this off-axis setting suggests that the global incidence of vent fields may be underestimated. At a depth of 4,960 m on the Mid-Cayman spreading centre axis, the Beebe Vent Field emits copper-enriched fluids and a buoyant plume that rises 1,100 m, consistent with >400 °C venting from the world's deepest known hydrothermal system. At both sites, a new morphospecies of alvinocaridid shrimp dominates faunal assemblages, which exhibit similarities to those of Mid-Atlantic vents.
    Nature Communications 01/2012; 3:620. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Jan Mayen is a volcanic island situated at 71°N and 8°W. The Island is build up of two main edifices, Sør Jan and Nord Jan (Beerenberg). Volcanic activity on the island is little known, and however at least 4 eruptions are documented at the island since early 18th century. An expedition to the island in summer 2011 reveals that first of these eruptions formed the tuffcone Eggøyan in 1732 AD. The Eggøyan tuffcone is situated at the north east foot of Beerenberg volcano, about 2.5 km from the coastline marked by Valberget. The tuffcone is about 1.5 km in diameter and emerges from about 35 m depth to reach the altitude of at least 217 m above sea level. Pre Eggøyan Lava flows on the sandy coast west of the edifice are covered by up to 1.6 m of ash some 3 km from the vent. These lava flows have been suggested to be formed in the 1732 eruption and the 1818 eruption of Jan Mayen. However, they are covered with the Eggøyan tephra and thus considerable older. Volcanic tephra from the Eggøyan eruption forms the uppermost tephra layer on the Eastern flanks of Beerenberg. Contemporary description of the 1732 eruption, tell of violent explosive eruption at the east side of Beerenberg observed by German whalers for 28 hours, while sailing past the island in May that year. A Dutch wailer group arriving to the island in June that year, report fine ash covering the island in such a way they sink up to mid leg into it. Our study this summer shows that the only eruption these descriptions can report to are the Eggøyan eruption, dating it precisely to the spring 1732. The eruptive products are made up of frothy glass and ol, cpx and opx crystals, which characterize the flank eruptions of Beerenberg. In this presentation we shall present first results of intense fragmentation of deep gas rich ankaramitic magma from the Jan Mayen are and its interaction with seawater in shallow coastal settings.
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    ABSTRACT: The Island of Jan Mayen is situated at 71°N and 8.3°W in the north Atlantic at the southern edge of the Jan Mayen fracture zone. It is a volcanic island extending for about 53 km from SW towards NE. Maximum width of the island is 15.8 km at its northern tip, while minimum width is only 2.5 km at its centre. The island is built up by two main edifices that have erupted repeatedly, namely Sør-Jan and Nord-Jan or Beerenberg. Petrology of the two edifices is strikingly different. In the south volcanic products are characterized by evolved basalts and trackites to rhyolites. Crystals of ol, cpx, opx are small and in low portions in the rocks. Plg is however common. A 220 m thick plinian formation is found at Borga location in Sør Jan resting on top of a palaeo beach at the altitude of some 170-200 m. This we interpret as caldera formation on Sør Jan and the beach uplift a later stage resurgent activity within the caldera. Further the post caldera volcanic activity all indicates that magma has been stored for shorter or longer time before eruption on surface. Nord Jan or Beerenberg on the other hand shows more primitive magma evolution indicating its younger age. At the flanks of Beerenberg (e.g. Esk krater and Kapp Fishburn) volcanic activity is characterized by ankaramitic magma, with ol, opx and cpx (to lesser extent) in the size range of 1-4 cm and portions up 30% of the whole rock. Plg is absent in these rocks. Volcanic vents closer to the summit area of Beerenberg have smaller ol, cpx and opx (to a lesser extent) and in much lower portion than at the flank eruption sites. These rocks also all carry plg, indicating magma reservoir development and shallow magma residence towards the centre of Beerenberg. We will present a model for the evolution of the Jan Mayen Island, as a migrating volcanism from South towards North. At first the volcanism is characterized by mantle derived magma, namely ankaramites. Prolonged activity forms magma chambers in the crust that eventually lead to caldera formation at the volcano. Post caldera activity is characterized by evolved basalts and trackites.