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Emily J. Fleming, Richard E. Davis, Sean M. McAllister, Clara S. Chan, Craig L. Moyer, Bradley M. Tebo and David Emerson Hidden in plain sight: discovery of sheath-forming, iron-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria at Loihi Seamount, Hawaii, USA FEMS Microbiology Ecology 85

Version of Record online: 15 APR 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1574-6941.12104

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Microbial mats are commonly found in habitats characterized by steep gradients of redox-active substrates. Deep-sea hydrothermal vents, both at spreading ridge axes and seamounts, support microbial mat communities that take advantage of gradients of inorganic, redox-active compounds in the vent fluids and oxygen in the surrounding ocean. Lithotrophic iron-oxidizing bacteria form microbial mats at focused flow or diffuse flow vents in deep-sea hydrothermal systems where Fe(II) is a dominant electron donor. The study findings suggest that effective growth on Fe(II) by iron-oxidizing bacteria in circumneutral redox boundary environments requires a unique degree of morphological and physiological specialization that has evolved separately in marine and freshwater ecosystems. The results constitute the discovery of a novel group of marine sheath-forming iron-oxidizing bacteria.

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