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Deep-Sea Archaea Fix and Share Nitrogen in Methane-Consuming Microbial Consortia

Dekas, Anne E. and Poretsky, Rachel S. and Orphan, Victoria J. (2009) Deep-Sea Archaea Fix and Share Nitrogen in Methane-Consuming Microbial Consortia. Science, 326 (5951). pp. 422-426. ISSN 0036-8075.

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Nitrogen-fixing (diazotrophic) microorganisms regulate productivity in diverse ecosystems; however, the identities of diazotrophs are unknown in many oceanic environments. Using single-cell–resolution nanometer secondary ion mass spectrometry images of ^(15)N incorporation, we showed that deep-sea anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea fix N_2, as well as structurally similar CN^–, and share the products with sulfate-reducing bacterial symbionts. These archaeal/bacterial consortia are already recognized as the major sink of methane in benthic ecosystems, and we now identify them as a source of bioavailable nitrogen as well. The archaea maintain their methane oxidation rates while fixing N_2 but reduce their growth, probably in compensation for the energetic burden of diazotrophy. This finding extends the demonstrated lower limits of respiratory energy capable of fueling N_2 fixation and reveals a link between the global carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Dekas, Anne E.0000-0001-9548-8413
Orphan, Victoria J.0000-0002-5374-6178
Additional Information:© 2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science. We thank C. House, A. Schmitt, K. McKeegan, Y. Guan, J. Eiler, and L. Remusat for assistance with the ion microprobe data collection; S. Joye, M. Boyles, M. Walton, J. Howard, N. Dalleska, O. Mason, A. Green, P. Tavormina, S. Goffredi, C. Gammon, and the shipboard party and crew of the R/V Atlantis and DSSV Alvin for support in the field and laboratory; and J. Howard, W. Fischer, J. Amend, C. Anderson, D. Fike, D. Sigman, V. Rich, J. Bailey, D. Newman, J. Grotzinger, T. Hoehler, J. Delacruz, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions regarding this manuscript. Funding was provided by NSF (grant MCB-0348492), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (A.E.D.). The Caltech Center for Microanalysis and nanoSIMS 50L are funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the University of California Los Angeles ion microprobe is partially supported by the NSF Instrumentation and Facilities Program.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:5951
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20091125-115957263
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Official Citation:Deep-Sea Archaea Fix and Share Nitrogen in Methane-Consuming Microbial Consortia Anne E. Dekas, Rachel S. Poretsky, and Victoria J. Orphan (16 October 2009) Science 326 (5951), 422. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1178223]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16813
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Jan 2010 20:02
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:59

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