Deep cold seeps
Hydrocarbon seeps, also known as cold seeps, occur where sediment compaction and tectonic processes facilitate the movement of methane-rich fluids to the sediment/water interface. In these settings, dissolved hydrogen sulfide (produced by microbial sulfate reduction) provides an energy source for chemosynthetic communities of microorganisms and symbiotic invertebrates. We are characterizing the microbial biogeochemistry of deep hydrocarbon seeps near Barbados that occur at nearly 5 km water depth. Right: push core collection (by the ROV Jason) of sediments from deep hydrocarbon seeps near Barbados at nearly 5 km water depth. The white material is sulfide oxidizing microbial biofilm.