Characterization of marine microbial communities around an Arctic seabed hydrocarbon seep at Scott Inlet, Baffin Bay

Cramm, Margaret A., Neves, B de Moura, Manning, CCM, Oldenburg, TBP, Archambault, P, Chakraborty, A, Cyr-Parent, A, Edinger, EN, Jaggi, A, Mort, A, Tortell, P and Hubert, CRJ 2020 Characterization of marine microbial communities around an Arctic seabed hydrocarbon seep at Scott Inlet, Baffin Bay. Science of The Total Environment, 762. 143961.

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Seabed hydrocarbon seeps present natural laboratories for investigating responses of marine ecosystems to petroleum input. A hydrocarbon seep near Scott Inlet, Baffin Bay, was visited for in situ observations and sampling in the summer of 2018. Video evidence of an active hydrocarbon seep was confirmed by methane and hydrocarbon analysis of the overlying water column, which is 260 m at this site. Elevated methane concentrations in bottom water above and down current from the seep decreased to background seawater levels in the mid-water column >150 m above the seafloor. Seafloor microbial mats morphologically resembling sulfide-oxidizing bacteria surrounded areas of bubble ebullition. Calcareous tube worms, brittle stars, shrimp, sponges, sea stars, sea anemones, sea urchins, small fish and soft corals were observed near the seep, with soft corals showing evidence for hydrocarbon incorporation. Sediment microbial communities included putative methane-oxidizing Methyloprofundus, sulfate-reducing Desulfobulbaceae and sulfide-oxidizing Sulfurovum. A metabolic gene diagnostic for aerobic methanotrophs (pmoA) was detected in the sediment and bottom water above the seep epicentre and up to 5 km away. Both 16S rRNA gene and pmoA amplicon sequencing revealed that pelagic microbial communities oriented along the geologic basement rise associated with methane seepage (running SW to NE) differed from communities in off-axis water up to 5 km away. Relative abundances of aerobic methanotrophs and putative hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria were elevated in the bottom water down current from the seep. Detection of bacterial clades typically associated with hydrocarbon and methane oxidation highlights the importance of Arctic marine microbial communities in mitigating hydrocarbon emissions from natural geologic sources.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Arctic hydrocarbon seep Methane Microbial communities Methanotrophs Benthic megafauna
Subjects: Biology
Earth Sciences
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 24 Feb 2021 11:39
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2021 11:41

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