Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2019

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E63

The subsurface biosphere of the five-decades old volcanic island of Surtsey

Höfundar / Authors: Pauline Bergsten(1,2), Pauline Vannier(1), Julie Frion(1), Alan Mougeolle(1), Stephen Knobloch(1), Alexandra M. Klonowski(1), Viggó Þ. Marteinsson(1,3)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: (1) Matis ohf, Exploration & Utilization of Genetic Resources, Vinlandsleid 12, 113 Reykjavík, Iceland, (2) Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland, (3) Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Iceland, Eiriksgata 29, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Kynnir / Presenter: Pauline Bergsten

Surtsey is a volcanic island located in the south of Iceland that was formed during eruptions from the seafloor in 1963-1967. These eruptions created a unique area that has been protected since birth as a pristine natural laboratory for biological and geological research. In 1979, a 180-m deep borehole was drilled through the geothermally heated volcanic rocks. Later, in 2009 and since 2016, water samples from this borehole were frequently collected at different depths for microbiological investigation. Likewise, three new boreholes were drilled in 2017 adjacent to the previous hole and core samples were collected at successive depths for microbial analyses and cultivation. Here, we explored the prokaryotic community structure and composition associated with the hydrothermal-seawater-rock system in the subsurface of Surtsey. To this end, we examined borehole fluids and drill core samples, differing in temperature, depth and chemical composition, by 16S rDNA tag sequencing (Illumina), microbial cultivation and microscopic investigation. Results of the investigation suggest that diverse microbial populations occur within the subsurface of Surtsey, where Bacteria and Archaea are capable of heterotrophic, methane and sulphur metabolisms (e.g. sulphate reduction). The current study provides first insights into the source of microbial colonization of the subsurface of a newly formed island only 52 years after eruptions terminated.