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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-11
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-11
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 03 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Microbial communities associated with sediments and polymetallic nodules of the Peru Basin

Massimiliano Molari1, Felix Janssen1,2, Tobias Vonnahme1,a, Frank Wenzhöfer1,2, and Antje Boetius1,2 Massimiliano Molari et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany
  • 2HGF-MPG Joint Research Group on Deep Sea Ecology and Technology, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • apresent address: UiT the Arctic University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

Abstract. Industrial-scale mining of deep-sea polymetallic nodules will need to remove nodules in large areas of the seafloor. The regrowth of the nodules by metal precipitation is estimated to take millions of years. Thus for future mining impact studies, it is crucial to understand the role of nodules in shaping microbial diversity and function in deep-sea environments. Here we investigated microbial community composition based on 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from sediments and nodules of the Peru Basin (> 4100 m water depth). The nodule field of the Peru Basin showed a typical deep-sea microbiome, with dominance of the classes Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, and Acidimicrobiia. Nodules and sediments host distinct bacterial and archaeal communities, with nodules showing lower diversity and a higher proportion of sequences related to potential metal-cycling bacteria (i.e. Magnetospiraceae, Hyphomicrobiaceae), bacterial and archaeal nitrifiers (i.e. AqS1, unclassified Nitrosomonadaceae, Nitrosopumilus, Nitrospina, Nitrospira), and bacterial sequences found in ocean crust, nodules, hydrothermal deposits and sessile fauna. Sediment and nodule communities overall shared a low proportion of Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU; 21 % for Bacteria and 19 % for Archaea). Our results show that nodules represent a specific ecological niche (i.e. hard substrate, high metal concentrations and sessile fauna), with a potentially relevant role in organic carbon degradation. Differences in nodule community composition (e.g. Mn-cycling bacteria, nitrifiers) between the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ) and the Peru Basin suggest that changes in environmental setting (i.e. sedimentation rates) play also a significant role in structuring the nodule microbiome.

Massimiliano Molari et al.

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Massimiliano Molari et al.

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Latest update: 25 Feb 2020
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Short summary
Industrial-scale mining of deep-sea polymetallic nodules will remove nodules in large areas of the seafloor. We described community composition of microbes associated to nodules of the Peru Basin. Our results showed that nodules provide a unique ecological niche, and this play an important role in shaping the diversity of benthic deep-sea microbiome and potentially in element fluxes. We believe that our findings are of highest relevance to expand our knowledge of impact associate with mining.
Industrial-scale mining of deep-sea polymetallic nodules will remove nodules in large areas of...
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