Microbes around sea floor methane seeps found sequestering greenhouse gas

By on October 30, 2014

A methane seep offshore of Virginia. (Credit: NOAA OKEANOS Explorer Program, via Flickr)


A study published in Nature Communications shows that microbes living in carbonate rocks on the ocean floor are helping sequester a greenhouse gas, according to a release on the journal’s website.

The microbial ecosystems thrive around methane seeps, where they consume methane and sulphate. Layers of carbonate around these seeps have often been regarded as lifeless, but the new research suggests that they are both a product of and home to countless microbes.

These ecosystems have not been considered in models that examine greenhouse gas exchange in the ocean, says Samantha Joye, microbial geochemist at the University of Georgia. She says the findings could inspire reexamination of past research.

Image: A methane seep offshore of Virginia. (Credit: NOAA OKEANOS Explorer Program, via Flickr)

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