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Keywords:

  • Gas hydrate;
  • rDNA sequencing;
  • Sulfate reducer;
  • Crenarchaeota

Abstract

Methane hydrates represent an enormous carbon and energy source in many low temperature deep marine sediments. However, little information is available concerning the nature of the microbial communities associated with these structures. Here, we describe a phylogenetic analysis based on ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences obtained from sediment and fluid samples present in a region of gas hydrate formation in shallow sediments within the Cascadia margin in and around Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 892B. Our studies detected diverse sulfur-utilizing microbes, methanogens, methanotrophs, and non-thermophilic members of the kingdom Crenarchaeota. This is the first culture-independent phylogenetic analysis of a gas hydrate habitat.