Project Name Characterization of Microbial Transformations in Basement Fluids, from Genes to Geochemical Cycling 
URL http://lod.bco-dmo.org/id/project/554914
Project Groups (1)
Domain (0) Unknown
Investigators (1)
Institution N/A
Project Code 554914
Project Type


Description from NSF award abstract:
Current estimates suggest that the volume of ocean crust capable of sustaining life is comparable in magnitude to that of the oceans. To date, there is little understanding of the composition or functional capacity of microbial communities in the sub-seafloor, or their influence on the chemistry of the oceans and subsequent consequences for global biogeochemical cycles. This project focuses on understanding the relationship between microbial communities and fluid chemistry in young crustal fluids that are responsible for the transport of energy, nutrients, and organisms in the crust. Specifically, the PIs will couple microbial activity measurements, including autotrophic carbon, nitrogen and sulfur metabolisms as well as mineral oxide reduction, with quantitative assessments of functional gene expression and geochemical transformations in basement fluids. Through a comprehensive suite of in situ and shipboard analyses, this research will yield cross-disciplinary advances in our understanding of the microbial ecology and geochemistry of the sub-seafloor biosphere. The focus of the effort is at North Pond, an isolated sediment pond located on ridge flank oceanic crust 7-8 million years old on the western side of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. North Pond is currently the target for drilling on IODP expedition 336, during which it will be instrumented with three sub-seafloor basement observatories.

The project will leverage this opportunity for targeted and distinct sampling at North Pond on two German-US research cruises to accomplish three main objectives:

1. to determine if different basement fluid horizons across North Pond host distinct microbial communities and chemical milieus and the degree to which they change over a two-year post-drilling period.

2. to quantify the extent of autotrophic metabolism via microbially-mediated transformations in carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur species in basement fluids at North Pond.

3. to determine the extent of suspended particulate mineral oxides in basement fluids at North Pond and to characterize their role as oxidants for fluid-hosted microbial communities.

Specific outcomes include quantitative assessments of microbial activity and gene expression as well as geochemical transformations. The program builds on the integrative research goals for North Pond and will provide important data for guiding the development of that and future deep biosphere research programs. Results will increase understanding of microbial life and chemistry in young oceanic crust as well as provide new insights into controls on the distribution and activity of marine microbial communities throughout the worlds oceans.

There are no data about microbial communities in ubiquitous cold, oceanic crust, the emphasis of the proposed work. This is an interdisciplinary project at the interface of microbial ecology, chemistry, and deep-sea oceanography with direct links to international and national research and educational organizations.


No assemblies.


Sample Name PI Desc
In situ dissolved oxygen NA Raw oxygen data from Aanderaa optodes IODP CORK (CirculationObviationRetrofitKit) Observatories, collected during ROV Jason-II dives.

Data are restricted: The 2012 and 2014 data are currently being used together to generate manuscripts for publication. Thus, this dataset will not be made publicly available until 2016. Please contact the PI for dataset access.

UH_ICP-OES_MVBS_2012 dissolved ions NA Standard ICP-OES run on 0.2um filtered, acidified, subsamples from fluid sampling from IODP CORK Observatories. Details for ROV sampling instrumentation are provided in Cowen, J.P., Copson, D., Jolly, J., Hsieh, C.-C., Matsumoto, R., Glazer, B.T. et al. (2012) Advanced instrument system for real-time and time-series microbial geochemical sampling of the deep (basaltic) crustal biosphere. Deep-Sea Research I, 61: 43-56.

Data access restricted: The 2012 and 2014 data are currently being used together to generate manuscripts for publication. Thus, this dataset will not be made publicly available until 2016. Please contact the PI for dataset access.

NorthPond_ALS_STXM NA Samples from North Pond CORK Observatories filtered during 2012 and 2014 expeditions. Contact PI for lab notebook notes to describe images and spectra. Archive files are grouped by trips to Berkeley’s Advanced Light Source: 2013_01, 2013_10, 2014_09. They are in .zip compressed files.

Data access restricted: These data are currently being used together to generate manuscripts for publication. Thus, this dataset will not be made publicly available until 2016. Please contact the PI for further information.

NP_Biomass_Huber NA Total microbial cell densities and 16S rRNA abundance from IODP boreholes, seawater, and drilling mud at North Pond.
NP_16SrRNA_Huber NA
Fluids cell counts NA Microbial cell counts derived from the formation fluids recovered from the CORKs (Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kits) installed at the North Pond in 2012 and 2014 on MSM20-5 and MSM37. The North Pond is an isolated, northeast-trending, ~8 km × 15 km sediment pond located on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) at 22°45' N and 46°05' W.

Details of these CORKS and their positions, construction and depth can be found in the Proceedings of the IODP expedition 336. See: http://publications.iodp.org/scientific_prospectus/336/336sp_6.htm

Access Restriction: Data are restricted through 2016. 

In addition to NSF OCE-1061934 (to Girguis), this dataset was funded by C-DEBI (OCE-0939564) sub-award number 41940192 granted to Beate Kraft.

O2 consumption rates NA Net oxygen consumption rates of the fluids recovered from the CORKs (Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kits) installed at the North Pond in 2014 on MSM37.

Details of these CORKS and their positions, construction and depth can be found in the Proceedings of the IODP expedition 336. See: http://publications.iodp.org/scientific_prospectus/336/336sp_6.htm

Access Restriction: Data are restricted through 2016. 

In addition to NSF OCE-1061934 (to Girguis), this dataset was funded by C-DEBI (OCE-0939564) sub-award number 41940192 granted to Beate Kraft.

POC NA Particulate organic carbon (POC) from the formation fluids recovered from the CORKs installed at the North Pond in 2012 on MSM20-5. The North Pond is an isolated, northeast-trending, ~8 km × 15 km sediment pond located on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) at 22°45' N and 46°05' W.

Details of these CORKS and their positions, construction and depth can be found in the Proceedings of the IODP expedition 336. See: http://publications.iodp.org/scientific_prospectus/336/336sp_6.htm

Access Restriction: Data are restricted through 2016.

In addition to NSF OCE-1061934 (to Girguis), this dataset was funded by C-DEBI (OCE-0939564) sub-award number 41940192 granted to Beate Kraft.

DOC and TDN NA Dissolved organic carbon and total dissolved nitrogen from the formation fluids recovered from the CORKs installed at the North Pond in 2012 on MSM20-5. The North Pond is an isolated, northeast-trending, ~8 km × 15 km sediment pond located on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) at 22°45' N and 46°05' W.

Details of these CORKS and their positions, construction and depth can be found in the Proceedings of the IODP expedition 336. See: http://publications.iodp.org/scientific_prospectus/336/336sp_6.htm

Access Restriction: Data are restricted through 2016.

In addition to NSF OCE-1061934 (to Girguis), this dataset was funded by C-DEBI (OCE-0939564) sub-award number 41940192 granted to Beate Kraft.

Stable Isotopes - DIC and Acetate NA The acetate and inorganic carbon uptake rates as determined via stable isotopic tracers; data generated using the formation fluids recovered from the CORKs installed at the North Pond in 2012. 

The North Pond is an isolated, northeast-trending, ~8 km × 15 km sediment pond located on the western flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) at 22°45' N and 46°05' W.

Details of these CORKS and their positions, construction and depth can be found in the Proceedings of the IODP expedition 336. See: http://publications.iodp.org/scientific_prospectus/336/336sp_6.htm

Access Restriction: Data are restricted through 2016.

In addition to NSF OCE-1061934 (to Girguis), this dataset was funded by C-DEBI (OCE-0939564) sub-award number 41940192 granted to Beate Kraft.


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