The deep subsurface biome is dominated by unicellular microbes and comprises a major fraction of the global living carbon mass on Earth. Results from studies conducted over the past 20 years suggest that the deep subsurface biosphere differs from the surface photosphere, resulting in the perception that subsurface microbes have the streamlined genomes of specialists and spend most of their time in an immobile state. A better understanding of carbon cycling by microbial life in the deep continental biosphere is essential because it may represent a much larger active biomass than previously recognized. A large-scale, integrated sequencing effort of single amplified genomes (SAGs), metagenomes and metatranscriptomes of deep subsurface microorganisms is expected to provide indispensible reference material for the growing community of deep subsurface microbiologists. The main goal of the project is to generate reference genomes for those microbial lineages that have been demonstrated to be indigenous to the deep subsurface but have not been captured in culture.
PI: Ramunas Stepanauskas, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences