Temperature limits to deep seafloor life in the Nankai Trough subduction zone

Susann.Henkel [ at ] awi.de


Microorganisms in marine subsurface sediments substantially contribute to global biomass.Sediments warmer than 40°C account for roughly half the marine sediment volume, but theprocesses mediated by microbial populations in these hard-to-access environments are poorlyunderstood. We investigated microbial life in up to 1.2-kilometer-deep and up to 120°C hotsediments in the Nankai Trough subduction zone. Above 45°C, concentrations of vegetativecells drop two orders of magnitude and endospores become more than 6000 times more abundantthan vegetative cells. Methane is biologically produced and oxidized until sediments reach 80°to 85°C. In 100° to 120°C sediments, isotopic evidence and increased cell concentrationsdemonstrate the activity of acetate-degrading hyperthermophiles. Above 45°C, populated zonesalternate with zones up to 192 meters thick where microbes were undetectable

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1126/science.abd7934

Cite as
Heuer, V. B. , Inagaki, F. , Morono, Y. , Kubo, Y. , Spivack, A. J. , Viehweger, B. , Treude, T. , Beulig, F. , Schubotz, F. , Tonai, S. , Bowden, S. A. , Cramm, M. , Henkel, S. , Hirose, T. , Homola, K. , Hoshino, T. , Ijiri, A. , Imachi, H. , Kamiya, N. , Kaneko, M. , Lagostina, L. , Manners, H. , McClelland, H. L. , Metcalfe, K. , Okutsu, N. , Pan, D. , Raudsepp, M. J. , Sauvage, J. , Tsang, M. Y. , Wang, D. T. , Whitaker, E. , Yamamoto, Y. , Yang, K. , Maeda, L. , Adhikari, R. R. , Glombitza, C. , Hamada, Y. , Kallmeyer, J. , Wendt, J. , Wörmer, L. , Yamada, Y. , Kinoshita, M. and Hinrichs, K. U. (2020): Temperature limits to deep seafloor life in the Nankai Trough subduction zone , Science, 370 (6521), pp. 1230-1234 . doi: 10.1126/science.abd7934

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Geographical region

Research Platforms


Edit Item Edit Item