Project Title Characterizing the distribution and rates of microbial sulfate reduction at Middle Valley hydrothermal vents
Acronym Middle Valley Vents
Created November 17, 2015
Modified November 19, 2015

Project Description

This project characterizes rates of microbially mediated sulfate reduction from three distinct hydrothermal vents in the Middle Valley vent field along the Juan de Fuca Ridge, as well as assessments of bacterial and archaeal diversity, estimates of total biomass and the abundance of functional genes related to sulfate reduction, and in situ geochemistry. Maximum rates of sulfate reduction occurred at 90°C in all three deposits. Pyrosequencing and functional gene abundance data reveal differences in both biomass and community composition among sites, including differences in the abundance of known sulfate reducing bacteria. The abundance of sequences for Thermodesulfovibro-like organisms and higher sulfate reduction rates at elevated temperatures, suggests that Thermodesulfovibro-like organisms may play a role in sulfate reduction in warmer environments. The rates of sulfate reduction observed suggest that – within anaerobic niches of hydrothermal deposits – heterotrophic sulfate reduction may be quite common and might contribute substantially to secondary productivity, underscoring the potential role of this process in both sulfur and carbon cycling at vents.

This project was funded, in part, by a C-DEBI Graduate Student Fellowship.

Data Project Maintainers

Peter R. GirguisHarvard UniversityPrincipal Investigator
Kiana L. FrankUniversity of Hawaii at Manoa (SOEST)Contact