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"Tischlein deck dich" in the deep sea


The sun-drenched surface layers of the ocean produce organic material that serves as the basis of the food web and is also largely decomposed into surface water into carbon dioxide and inorganic nutrients. Only about 10 to 20 percent of the organic material sinks into the depths of the ocean and serves as a food source for the communities of the deep sea.

The decomposition of organic material is mainly done by a complex microbial community whose composition and metabolism change with increasing depth. An international researcher consortium led by Kristin Bergauer and Gerhard J. Herndl from the University of Vienna was able to gain fascinating insights into their ecology and the biogeochemical processes behind the cycle of carbon and other elements by analyzing proteins from deep-sea microbes. The results of the study are currently published in the renowned journal "PNAS". [read more]


Kristin Bergauer, Antonio Fernandez-Guerra, Juan A. L. Garcia, Richard R. Sprenger, Ramunas Stepanauskas, Maria G. Pachiadaki, Ole N. Jensen, Gerhard J. Herndl:
"Organic matter processing by microbial communities throughout the Atlantic water column as revealed by metaproteomics".