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Deep-biosphere consortium of fungi and prokaryotes in Eocene subseafloor basalts
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2014 (English)In: Geobiology, ISSN 1472-4677, E-ISSN 1472-4669, Vol. 12, no 6, 489-496 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The deep biosphere of the subseafloor crust is believed to contain a significant part of Earth's biomass, but because of the difficulties of directly observing the living organisms, its composition and ecology are poorly known. We report here a consortium of fossilized prokaryotic and eukaryotic micro-organisms, occupying cavities in deep-drilled vesicular basalt from the Emperor Seamounts, Pacific Ocean, 67.5m below seafloor (mbsf). Fungal hyphae provide the framework on which prokaryote-like organisms are suspended like cobwebs and iron-oxidizing bacteria form microstromatolites (Frutexites). The spatial inter-relationships show that the organisms were living at the same time in an integrated fashion, suggesting symbiotic interdependence. The community is contemporaneous with secondary mineralizations of calcite partly filling the cavities. The fungal hyphae frequently extend into the calcite, indicating that they were able to bore into the substrate through mineral dissolution. A symbiotic relationship with chemoautotrophs, as inferred for the observed consortium, may be a pre-requisite for the eukaryotic colonization of crustal rocks. Fossils thus open a window to the extant as well as the ancient deep biosphere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 12, no 6, 489-496 p.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109966DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12100ISI: 000343866600001OAI: diva2:768778


Available from: 2014-12-04 Created: 2014-12-02 Last updated: 2014-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Broman, Curt
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Department of Geological Sciences
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