A Contemporary Microbially Maintained Subglacial Ferrous "Ocean"

Mikucki, J. A. and Pearson, A. and Johnston, D. T. and Turchyn, A. V. and Farquhar, J. and Schrag, D. P. and Anbar, A. D. and Priscu, J. C. and Lee, P. A. (2009) A Contemporary Microbially Maintained Subglacial Ferrous "Ocean". Science, 324 (5925). pp. 397-400. DOI https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1167350

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An active microbial assemblage cycles sulfur in a sulfate-rich, ancient marine brine beneath Taylor Glacier, an outlet glacier of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, with Fe(III) serving as the terminal electron acceptor. Isotopic measurements of sulfate, water, carbonate, and ferrous iron and functional gene analyses of adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate reductase imply that a microbial consortium facilitates a catalytic sulfur cycle. These metabolic pathways result from a limited organic carbon supply because of the absence of contemporary photosynthesis, yielding a subglacial ferrous brine that is anoxic but not sulfidic. Coupled biogeochemical processes below the glacier enable subglacial microbes to grow in extended isolation, demonstrating how analogous organic-starved systems, such as Neoproterozoic oceans, accumulated Fe(II) despite the presence of an active sulfur cycle.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 08AREP; IA57;
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Science
Volume: 324
Page Range: pp. 397-400
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1167350
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2009 16:26
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 09:55
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/1064

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