22 Apr 2021

22 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Hydrothermal trace metal release and microbial metabolism in the Northeast Lau Basin of the south Pacific Ocean

Natalie R. Cohen1,2, Abigail E. Noble1, Dawn M. Moran1, Matthew R. McIlvin1, Tyler J. Goepfert1,3, Nicholas J. Hawco4, Christopher R. German1, Tristan J. Horner1, Carl H. Lamborg5, John P. McCrow6, Andrew E. Allen6, and Mak A. Saito1 Natalie R. Cohen et al.
  • 1Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole MA 02543 USA
  • 2University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah GA 31411 USA
  • 3Arizona State University, Tempe AZ 85281 USA
  • 4University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu HI 96822 USA
  • 5University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 USA
  • 6J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla CA 92037 USA

Abstract. Bioactive trace metals are critical micronutrients for marine microorganisms due to their role in mediating biological redox reactions, and complex biogeochemical processes control their distributions. Hydrothermal vents may represent an important source of metals to microorganisms, especially those inhabiting low iron waters, such as in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Previous measurements of primordial 3He indicate a significant hydrothermal source originating in the Northeast (NE) Lau Basin, with the plume advecting into the southwest Pacific Ocean at 1,500–2,000 m depth (Lupton et al. 2004). Studies investigating the long range of trace metals associated with such dispersing plumes are rare, and the biogeochemical impacts on local microbial physiology have not yet been described. Here we quantified dissolved metals and assessed microbial metaproteomes across a transect spanning the tropical and equatorial Pacific with a focus on the hydrothermally active NE Lau Basin, and report elevated iron and manganese concentrations across 441 km of the southwest Pacific. The most intense signal was detected near the Mangatolu Triple Junction (MTJ) and Northeast Lau Spreading Center (NELSC), in close proximity to the previously reported 3He signature. Protein content in distal plume-influenced seawater, which was high in metals, was overall similar to background locations, though key prokaryotic proteins involved in metal and organic uptake, protein degradation and chemoautotrophy were comparatively abundant compared to deep waters outside of the distal plume. Our results demonstrate that trace metals derived from the NE Lau Basin are transported over appreciable distances into the southwest Pacific Ocean, and that bioactive chemical resources released from submarine vent systems are utilized by surrounding deep sea microbes, influencing both their physiology and their contributions to ocean biogeochemical cycling.

Natalie R. Cohen et al.

Status: open (until 03 Jun 2021)

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Natalie R. Cohen et al.

Data sets

Metzyme metaproteomic data set on PRIDE (3-51 um filter fraction) Natalie R. Cohen, Dawn M. Moran, Matthew R. McIlvin, John P. McCrow, Andrew E. Allen, Mak A. Saito

Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Repository - Metzyme dissolved trace metals and metadata Natalie R. Cohen, Dawn M. Moran, Matthew R. McIlvin, Nicholas J. Hawco, Carl H. Lamborg, Mak A. Saito

Natalie R. Cohen et al.


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Short summary
A previous study documented an intense hydrothermal plume in the south Pacific Ocean, however, the iron release associated with this plume and the impact on microbiology was unclear. We describe metal concentrations associated with multiple hydrothermal plumes in this region and protein signatures of plume-influenced microbes. Our findings demonstrate that resources released from these systems can be transported away from their source and may alter the physiology of surrounding microbes.