Short chain hydrocarbon degraders in hydrothermal vent systems on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge
PhD project of Francesca Vulcano
Anaerobic methane oxidation is a relevant process in marine sediments and is responsible for consumption of methane produced in the subseafloor before it is released into the oceans. In diffusive, sediment-influenced hydrothermal systems, methane and other short-chain hydrocarbons can feed abundant populations of anaerobic alkane oxidisers, that are metabolically associated to populations of sulfate-reducers. The dynamics and the physiology of this association and how it is shaped by the environments are not fully understood yet. In this project, with microscopy, cultivation, metabolic rates measurements and genome analysis, we try to expand the knowledge of anaerobic alkane oxidation in hydrothermal settings and shed light on the molecular aspects that regulate the interaction between the two syntrophic partners.