Ussler William

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  • Article
    Comparative analysis of methane-oxidizing archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria in anoxic marine sediments
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2001-04) Orphan, Victoria J. ; Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe ; Ussler, William ; Paull, Charles K. ; Taylor, L. T. ; Sylva, Sean P. ; Hayes, John M. ; DeLong, Edward F.
    The oxidation of methane in anoxic marine sediments is thought to be mediated by a consortium of methane-consuming archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria. In this study, we compared results of rRNA gene (rDNA) surveys and lipid analyses of archaea and bacteria associated with methane seep sediments from several different sites on the Californian continental margin. Two distinct archaeal lineages (ANME-1 and ANME-2), peripherally related to the order Methanosarcinales, were consistently associated with methane seep marine sediments. The same sediments contained abundant 13C-depleted archaeal lipids, indicating that one or both of these archaeal groups are members of anaerobic methane-oxidizing consortia. 13C-depleted lipids and the signature 16S rDNAs for these archaeal groups were absent in nearby control sediments. Concurrent surveys of bacterial rDNAs revealed a predominance of delta -proteobacteria, in particular, close relatives of Desulfosarcina variabilis. Biomarker analyses of the same sediments showed bacterial fatty acids with strong 13C depletion that are likely products of these sulfate-reducing bacteria. Consistent with these observations, whole-cell fluorescent in situ hybridization revealed aggregations of ANME-2 archaea and sulfate-reducing Desulfosarcina and Desulfococcus species. Additionally, the presence of abundant 13C-depleted ether lipids, presumed to be of bacterial origin but unrelated to ether lipids of members of the order Desulfosarcinales, suggests the participation of additional bacterial groups in the methane-oxidizing process. Although the Desulfosarcinales and ANME-2 consortia appear to participate in the anaerobic oxidation of methane in marine sediments, our data suggest that other bacteria and archaea are also involved in methane oxidation in these environments.
  • Preprint
    Methane-derived authigenic carbonates from the northern Gulf of Mexico — MD02 Cruise
    ( 2007-05-25) Chen, Yifeng ; Matsumoto, Ryo ; Paull, Charles K. ; Ussler, William ; Lorenson, Thomas D. ; Hart, Patrick E. ; Winters, William J.
    Authigenic carbonates were sampled in piston cores collected from both the Tunica Mound and the Mississippi Canyon area on the continental slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico during a Marion Dufresne cruise in July 2002. The carbonates are present as hardgrounds, porous crusts, concretions or nodules and shell fragments with or without carbonate cements. Carbonates occurred at gas venting sites which are likely to overlie gas hydrates bearing sediments. Electron microprobe, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thinsection investigations show that these carbonates are high-Mg calcite (6 - 21 mol % MgCO3), with significant presence of framboidal pyrite. All carbonates are depleted in 13C (δ13C = -61.9 to -31.5 ‰ PDB) indicating that the carbon is derived mainly from anaerobic methane oxidation (AMO). Age estimates based on 14C dating of shell fragments and on regional sedimentation rates indicate that these authigenic carbonates formed within the last 1,000 yr in the Mississippi Canyon and within 5,500 yr at the Tunica Mound. The oxygen isotopic composition of carbonates ranges from +3.4 to +5.9 ‰ PDB. Oxygen isotopic compositions and Mg2+ contents of carbonates, and present in-situ temperatures of bottom seawater/sediments, show that some of these carbonates, especially from a core associated with underlying massive gas hydrates precipitated in or near equilibrium with bottom-water. On the other hand, those carbonates more enriched in 18O are interpreted to have precipitated from 18O-rich fluids which are thought to have been derived from the dissociation of gas hydrates. The dissociation of gas hydrates in the northern Gulf of Mexico within the last 5,500 yr may be caused by nearby salt movement and related brines.