Iron makes up nearly five percent of the Earth’s continental crust and studies over the past two decades have revealed that microbes drive the process by which iron is reduced. While researchers have identified bacteria that can break down iron in anaerobic soil environments, the iron cycle in the marine environment is less well understood. The project calls for sequencing two microbes that represent a newly described class of iron-oxidizing protobacteria that grow in low-oxygen marine environments and cannot be cultured on conventional media.
The genomic information would be used to better understand this new class of microbes and their roles in the global carbon cycle and the global iron cycle – data that in turn add to the information regarding this branch of the Tree of Life in the DOE JGI’s ongoing project to develop a Genome Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea. Additionally, the information could lead to the development of more effective bioremediation techniques for cleaning up sites contaminated with a variety of pollutants. Marine biocorrosion impacts plans for developing offshore alternative energy sources such as wave, wind and tidal projects.
Principal Investigators: David Emerson, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Program: CSP 2010