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ArticleComplex subsurface hydrothermal fluid mixing at a submarine arc volcano supports distinct and highly diverse microbial communities(National Academy of Sciences, 2020-12-04) Reysenbach, Anna-Louise ; St. John, Emily ; Meneghin, Jennifer ; Flores, Gilberto ; Podar, Mircea ; Dombrowski, Nina ; Spang, Anja ; L’Haridon, Stephane ; Humphris, Susan E. ; de Ronde, Cornel E. J. ; Tontini, F. Caratori ; Tivey, Maurice A. ; Stucker, Valerie ; Stewart, Lucy C. ; Diehl, Alexander ; Bach, WolfgangHydrothermally active submarine volcanoes are mineral-rich biological oases contributing significantly to chemical fluxes in the deep sea, yet little is known about the microbial communities inhabiting these systems. Here we investigate the diversity of microbial life in hydrothermal deposits and their metagenomics-inferred physiology in light of the geological history and resulting hydrothermal fluid paths in the subsurface of Brothers submarine volcano north of New Zealand on the southern Kermadec arc. From metagenome-assembled genomes we identified over 90 putative bacterial and archaeal genomic families and nearly 300 previously unknown genera, many potentially endemic to this submarine volcanic environment. While magmatically influenced hydrothermal systems on the volcanic resurgent cones of Brothers volcano harbor communities of thermoacidophiles and diverse members of the superphylum “DPANN,” two distinct communities are associated with the caldera wall, likely shaped by two different types of hydrothermal circulation. The communities whose phylogenetic diversity primarily aligns with that of the cone sites and magmatically influenced hydrothermal systems elsewhere are characterized predominately by anaerobic metabolisms. These populations are probably maintained by fluids with greater magmatic inputs that have interacted with different (deeper) previously altered mineral assemblages. However, proximal (a few meters distant) communities with gene-inferred aerobic, microaerophilic, and anaerobic metabolisms are likely supported by shallower seawater-dominated circulation. Furthermore, mixing of fluids from these two distinct hydrothermal circulation systems may have an underlying imprint on the high microbial phylogenomic diversity. Collectively our results highlight the importance of considering geologic evolution and history of subsurface processes in studying microbial colonization and community dynamics in volcanic environments.
ArticleVolcanically hosted venting with indications of ultramafic influence at Aurora hydrothermal field on Gakkel Ridge(Nature Communications, 2022-10-31) German, Christopher R ; Reeves, Eoghan P ; Türke, Andreas ; Diehl, Alexander ; Albers, Elmar ; Bach, Wolfgang ; Purser, Autun ; Ramalho, Sofia P ; Suman, Stefano ; Mertens, Christian ; Walter, Maren ; Ramirez-Llodra, Eva ; Schlindwein, Vera ; Bünz, Stefan ; Boetius, AntjeThe Aurora hydrothermal system, Arctic Ocean, hosts active submarine venting within an extensive field of relict mineral deposits. Here we show the site is associated with a neovolcanic mound located within the Gakkel Ridge rift-valley floor, but deep-tow camera and sidescan surveys reveal the site to be ≥100 m across-unusually large for a volcanically hosted vent on a slow-spreading ridge and more comparable to tectonically hosted systems that require large time-integrated heat-fluxes to form. The hydrothermal plume emanating from Aurora exhibits much higher dissolved CH/Mn values than typical basalt-hosted hydrothermal systems and, instead, closely resembles those of high-temperature ultramafic-influenced vents at slow-spreading ridges. We hypothesize that deep-penetrating fluid circulation may have sustained the prolonged venting evident at the Aurora hydrothermal field with a hydrothermal convection cell that can access ultramafic lithologies underlying anomalously thin ocean crust at this ultraslow spreading ridge setting. Our findings have implications for ultra-slow ridge cooling, global marine mineral distributions, and the diversity of geologic settings that can host abiotic organic synthesis - pertinent to the search for life beyond Earth.