- CoDL IODP Exp 331 Okinawa Bacarc Basin
Hydrothermal systems are one of the deep ocean’s extreme ecosystems. Though studied to some extent at the surface, hydrothermal systems have not been extensively studied beneath the seafloor. The subseafloor contains 10-30% of Earth’s total living biomass, yet, we know little about the contribution or microbial populations of subseafloor hydrothermal systems. On IODP Expedition 331 to the Okinawa backarc basin, several tens of meters of sediment cores were collected in close proximity of a hydrothermal vent chain. Our objective is to apply 454-based tag sequencing to explore the microbial diversity around a subvent biosphere as temperature becomes a limiting factor with depth. This sequencing of the V4 through V6 hypervariable regions of rDNA gene will supplement current work aimed at characterizing the microbial community composition in this understudied, subsurface environment.