Microbial ecology of the stratified water column of the Black Sea as revealed by a comprehensive biomarker study

Stuart G. Wakeham, Rudi Amann, Katherine H. Freeman, Ellen C. Hopmans, Bo Barker Jørgensen, Isabell F. Putnam, Stefan Schouten, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté, Helen M. Talbot, Dagmar Woebken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


The stratified water column of the Black Sea is partitioned into oxic, suboxic, and euxinic zones, each characterized by different biogeochemical processes and by distinct microbial communities. In 2003, we collected particulate matter by large volume in situ filtration at the highest resolution to date for lipid biomarker analysis and bacterioplankton for enumeration of major prokaryotic groups. Abundances of several prokaryotic groups were estimated using CARD-FISH probes specific for Bacteria, Archaea (Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota), epsilonproteobacteria (mainly sulfide oxidizers) and sulfate reducing bacteria. We also measured a wide range of bacterial and archaeal lipid biomarkers. Depth distributions of diagnostic biomarkers are matched with zonation of microbial processes, including aerobic bacterial oxidation of methane, oxidation of ammonium by bacteria and archaea, metal reduction, and sulfide oxidation at the chemocline, and bacterial sulfate reduction and anaerobic oxidation of methane by archaea in the anoxic zone. Cell densities for archaea and sulfate reducing bacteria are estimated based on water column biomarker concentrations and compared with CARD-FISH results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2070-2097
Number of pages28
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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