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Images related to news release:
Scientists identify methane-consuming microbes
 from ocean depths

News release 

Media Contact:
Debbie Meyer, 831-775-1807,

Note: These images may not be copied, reprinted, or used without explicit permission from MBARI. Members of the media needing higher-resolution versions should contact Debbie Meyer,, 831-775-1807.

Push core close-up through methane seep. Chemosynthetic clams appear
at top.
© 1999 MBARI.

Push core from Eel River Basin methane seep showing chemosynthetic clams, bacterial mats, and authigenic carbonate slabs.
© 2000 MBARI.

Methane oxidizing archaeal and bacterial aggregate from methane seep sediments visualized using confocal microscopy. Fluorescently labeled ribosomal RNA probes are used to distinguish the two microbial partners, with methane-oxidizing archaea shown in red and the sulfate-reducing bacterial partner shown in green. Aggregate is approximately 15 micrometers in diameter. 
Victoria Orphan © 2001 MBARI.

This figure shows the spatial arrangement of an individual methane oxidizing cell aggregate and the potential metabolic interactions between the archaea (cells in red) and bacteria (cells in green). Carbon isotopic data obtained with FISH-SIMS suggest the core of archaea are consuming methane directly and transferring carbon-13 depleted metabolites and hydrogen to the surrounding sulfate-reducing bacterial partners.
Victoria Orphan © 2001 MBARI.
Methane-oxidizing cell aggregates were first identified in methane seep sediments using Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization assays (FISH) on glass slides with specific fluorescently-labeled ribosomal RNA probes (Inset). Those target cells staining with the probes were then relocated and analyzed in a ‘Secondary’ Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS). This combined technique allowed us to determine the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 for individual cell aggregates, thus identifying those cells that had incorporated methane into their cell carbon. The graph shows a profile of carbon-13 through an individual aggregate (see blue arrows), consisting of a core of methane-consuming archaea enveloped by sulfate-reducing bacteria.
Victoria Orphan © 2001 MBARI.