Analysis of DGGE profiles to explore the relationship between prokaryotic community composition and biogeochemical processes in deep subseafloor sediments from the Peru Margin


  • Editor: Jim Prosser

Correspondence: John C. Fry, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3TL, UK. Tel.: +44 29 2087 4190; fax: +44 29 2087 4305; e-mail:


The aim of this work was to relate depth profiles of prokaryotic community composition with geochemical processes in the deep subseafloor biosphere at two shallow-water sites on the Peru Margin in the Pacific Ocean (ODP Leg 201, sites 1228 and 1229). Principal component analysis of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis banding patterns of deep-sediment Bacteria, Archaea, Euryarchaeota and the novel candidate division JS1, followed by multiple regression, showed strong relationships with prokaryotic activity and geochemistry (R2=55–100%). Further correlation analysis, at one site, between the principal components from the community composition profiles for Bacteria and 12 other variables quantitatively confirmed their relationship with activity and geochemistry, which had previously only been implied. Comparison with previously published cell counts enumerated by fluorescent in situ hybridization with rRNA-targeted probes confirmed that these denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles described an active prokaryotic community.