Diagram of a hypothetical basalt-colonizing microbial community at the oxic/anoxic interface of a diffuse flow vent. (1) A low-complexity community of chemosynthetic (straight, abundant) and heterotrophic (curved & red, sparse) bacteria attaches to the basalt and establishes a biofilm. When chemosynthetic bacteria oxidize sulfur species, they mobilize heavy metals, increasing their toxicity. (2) Bacteria in biofilms produce EPS, which sequester heavy metals, reducing their toxicity. Heterotrophic bacteria actively detoxify heavy metals. (3) Colonizing bacteria are metabolically versatile and can use multiple energy sources and terminal electron acceptors (TAEs). Illustration by Jack Cook, copyright Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Media Type: Illustration
Investigator: Costantino Vetriani