Terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphisms (T-RFLPs) and traditional clone library analysis were used to identify and assess the spatial variability of microbial communities within an active diffusely venting hydrothermal mound found 4 km off-axis at the Cleft Segment, Juan
de Fuca Ridge. T-RFLP fingerprints were generated from three subsamples taken from different depths of a sediment core. The top and center subsamples were dominated by phylotypes clustering with the proposed ζ-Proteobacteria. The bottom of the core was dominated by a phylotype clustering
in the Nitrospina group within the δ-Proteobacteria. Cluster analysis of T-RFLP fingerprints from the center of the core shows a similar community structure with those from iron-dominated microbial mat communities collected from NW Eifuku Seamount in the Mariana Island Arc and from Loihi
Seamount, Hawaii. Our study demonstrates that off-axis diffuse hydrothermal activity generates microbial communities that can potentially affect their habitat through the differential precipitation of Fe-, Si-, and Mn-rich deposits.
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Document Type: Research Article
Biology Department, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA
Physical Sciences, Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California, USA
Global Undersea Research Unit, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Moss Landing, California, USA
Publication date: 01 December 2009
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