Chemolithoautotroph distributions across the subsurface of a convergent margin

Rogers T. J. , Buongiorno J., Jessen G. L. , Schrenk M. O. , Fordyce J. A. , de Moor J. M. , ...More

ISME JOURNAL, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41396-022-01331-7
  • Journal Name: ISME JOURNAL
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Environment Index, Geobase, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Subducting oceanic crusts release fluids rich in biologically relevant compounds into the overriding plate, fueling subsurface chemolithoautotrophic ecosystems. To understand the impact of subsurface geochemistry on microbial communities, we collected fluid and sediments from 14 natural springs across a similar to 200 km transect across the Costa Rican convergent margin and performed shotgun metagenomics. The resulting 404 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) duster into geologically distinct regions based on MAG abundance patterns: outer forearc-only (25% of total relative abundance), forearc/arc-only (38% of total relative abundance), and delocalized (37% of total relative abundance) clusters. In the outer forearc, The rmodesulfovibrionia, Candidatus Bipolaricaulia, and Firmicutes have hydrogenotrophic sulfate reduction and Wood-Ljungdahl (WL) carbon fixation pathways. In the forearc/arc, Anaerolineae, Ca. Bipolaricaulia, and Thermodesulfovibrionia have sulfur oxidation, nitrogen cycling, microaerophilic respiration, and WL, while Aquificae have aerobic sulfur oxidation and reverse tricarboxylic acid carbon fixation pathway. Transformation-based canonical correspondence analysis shows that MAG distribution corresponds to concentrations of aluminum, iron, nickel, dissolved inorganic carbon, and phosphate. While delocalized MAGs appear surface-derived, the subsurface chemolithoautotrophic, metabolic, and taxonomic landscape varies by the availability of minerals/metals and volcanically derived inorganic carbon. However, the WL pathway persists across all samples, suggesting that this versatile, energy-efficient carbon fixation pathway helps shape convergent margin subsurface ecosystems.