National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1999

Geomicrobial transformation of manganese in Gorda Ridge event plumes

Cowen, J.P., M.A. Bertram, E.T. Baker, R.A. Feely, G.J. Massoth, and M. Summit

Deep-Sea Res. Pt. II, 45(12), 2713–2737, doi: 10.1016/S0967-0645(98)00090-3 (1998)

Event plumes form as episodic discharges of large volumes of hydrothermal solutions in response to magmatic diking/eruptive events. In consequence, event plumes represent the sudden injection of exploitable reduced chemical substrates, as well as inhibitory constituents, and likely induce successional changes in the microbial community structure and activity within event plume waters. In response to a major seismic event detected beginning 28 February 1996 at the northern Gorda Ridge, a series of three rapid response and follow-up cruises (GREAT 1, 2 and 3) were mounted over a period of three months. This report focuses on time-series measurements of manganese geomicrobial parameters in the two event plumes found in association with this seismic event. Scanning transmission electron microscopy, elemental microanalysis, and radioisotope (Mn) uptake experiments were employed on samples collected from vertical and tow-yo casts from the three cruises. Numbers of bacteria and ratios of metal precipitating capsuled bacteria to total bacteria were greatest in the youngest (days old) plume, EP96A, found during GREAT 1; however, when normalized to the hydrothermal temperature anomaly, the greatest values were found in a second event plume, EP96B, discovered during GREAT 2 (up to 1 month old). Early capsule bacteria and particulate Mn distributions may have been influenced by entrainment of resuspended sediment, while those of the oldest (2-3 months) plume sample may have been subjected to preferential aggregation and particle settling.

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