Preprints
https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.01.05.522639
https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.01.05.522639
06 Oct 2023
 | 06 Oct 2023

Microbial strong organic ligand production is tightly coupled to iron in hydrothermal plumes

Colleen L. Hoffman, Patrick J. Monreal, Justine B. Albers, Alastair J. M. Lough, Alyson E. Santoro, Travis Mellett, Kristen N. Buck, Alessandro Tagliabue, Maeve C. Lohan, Joseph A. Resing, and Randelle M. Bundy

Abstract. Hydrothermal vents have emerged as an important source of iron to seawater, yet only a subset of this iron is soluble and persists long enough to be available for surface biological uptake. The longevity and solubility of iron in seawater is governed by organic iron-binding ligands, and strong organic ligands called siderophores are produced by marine microorganisms to access and retain iron in soluble forms. Siderophores and other microbially-produced ligands comprise part of the ocean’s dissolved iron-binding ligand pool, which is hypothesized to aid in the persistence of soluble iron in hydrothermal environments. To explore this hypothesis, we measured iron, iron-binding ligands, and siderophores from 11 geochemically distinct sites along a 1,700 km section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. For the first time, we identified siderophores in hydrothermal plumes at all sites. Proximity to the vent played an important role in dictating siderophore types and diversity. The notable presence of amphiphilic siderophores may point to microbial utilization of siderophores to access particulate iron in hydrothermal plumes, and the exchange of iron between dissolved and particulate phases in these systems. A tight coupling between strong ligands and dissolved iron was observed in the neutrally buoyant plume across six distinct hydrothermal environments, and the presence of dissolved siderophores with siderophore-producing microbial genera suggests that biological production of siderophores exerts a key control on hydrothermal dissolved iron concentrations.

Colleen L. Hoffman, Patrick J. Monreal, Justine B. Albers, Alastair J. M. Lough, Alyson E. Santoro, Travis Mellett, Kristen N. Buck, Alessandro Tagliabue, Maeve C. Lohan, Joseph A. Resing, and Randelle M. Bundy

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2017', Anonymous Referee #1, 06 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2017', Eva Stueeken, 19 Dec 2023
Colleen L. Hoffman, Patrick J. Monreal, Justine B. Albers, Alastair J. M. Lough, Alyson E. Santoro, Travis Mellett, Kristen N. Buck, Alessandro Tagliabue, Maeve C. Lohan, Joseph A. Resing, and Randelle M. Bundy
Colleen L. Hoffman, Patrick J. Monreal, Justine B. Albers, Alastair J. M. Lough, Alyson E. Santoro, Travis Mellett, Kristen N. Buck, Alessandro Tagliabue, Maeve C. Lohan, Joseph A. Resing, and Randelle M. Bundy

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Latest update: 21 May 2024
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Short summary
Hydrothermally-derived iron can be transported thousands of kilometers away from deep-sea vents, representing a significant flux of vital micronutrients to the ocean. However, the mechanisms that support the stabilization and transport of dissolved iron remain elusive. Using electrochemical methods, advanced mass spectrometry techniques, and genomic tools we demonstrate that strong microbially-produced ligands appear to exert an important control on plume iron biogeochemistry and dissemination.