Microbial diversity of cold-seep sediments in Sagami Bay, Japan, as determined by 16S rRNA gene and lipid analyses


  • Editor: Gary King

Correspondence: Jiasong Fang, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. Tel.: +515 294 6583; fax: +515 294 6049; e-mail: jsfang@iastate.edu


Microbial communities in Calyptogena sediment and microbial mats of Sagami Bay, Japan, were characterized using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and lipid biomarker analysis. Characterization of 16S rRNA gene isolated from these samples suggested a predominance of bacterial phylotypes related to Gammaproteobacteria (57–64%) and Deltaproteobacteria (27–29%). The Epsilonproteobacteria commonly found in cold seeps and hydrothermal vents were only detected in the microbial mat sample. Significantly different archaeal phylotypes were found in Calyptogena sediment and microbial mats; the former contained only Crenarchaeota clones (100% of the total archaeal clones) and the latter exclusively Euryarchaeota clones, including the anaerobic oxidation of methane archaeal groups ANME-2a and ANME-2c. Many of these lineages are as yet uncultured and undescribed groups of bacteria and archaea. Phospholipid fatty acid analysis suggested the presence of sulphate-reducing and sulphur-oxidizing bacteria. Results of intact glyceryl dialkyl glyceryl tetraether lipid analysis indicated the presence of nonthermophilic marine planktonic archaea. These results suggest that the microbial community in the Sagami Bay seep site is distinct from previously characterized cold-seep environments.