Microbial Life of the Deep Biosphere
Published: March 31, 2014
C-DEBI Contribution Number: 199


Gene sequencing of natural microbial communities in the deep subsurface has provided access to a new biosphere, characterized by evolutionary depth and diversity of novel archaeal lineages. Specific phylum-level lineages and functional groups of archaea occur consistently in deep subsurface sediments, and contrast with differently structured communities in the surface biosphere. This chapter provides an overview on currently uncultured archaeal lineages in the marine sedimentary subsurface, their phylogenetic diversity and habitat preferences, and contrasts this barely explored archaeal biosphere with the more limited physiological and phylogenetic spectrum of cultured subsurface archaea, the methanogens.