Potential Physiologies of Deep Branches on the Tree of Life with Deep Subsurface Samples from IODP Leg 347: Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 4:30 PM
Karen G Lloyd, Jordan T Bird and Alexander Shumaker, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States
Very little is known about how evolutionary branches that are distantly related to cultured microorganisms make a living in the deep subsurface marine environment. Here, sediments are cut-off from surface inputs of organic substrates for tens of thousands of years; yet somehow support a diverse population of microorganisms. We examined the potential metabolic and ecological roles of uncultured archaea and bacteria in IODP Leg 347: Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment samples, using quantitative PCR holes 60B, 63E, 65C, and 59C and single cell genomic analysis for hole 60B. We quantified changes in total archaea and bacteria, as well as deeply-branching archaeal taxa with depth. These sediment cores alternate between high and low salinities, following a glacial cycle. This allows changes in the quantities of these groups to be placed in the context of potentially vastly different organic matter sources. In addition, single cells were isolated, and their genomes were amplified and sequenced to allow a deeper look into potential physiologies of uncultured deeply-branching organisms found up to 86 meters deep in marine sediments. Together, these data provide deeper insight into the relationship between microorganisms and their organic matter substrates in this extreme environments.