Universität Innsbruck

Seminar of the Department of Microbiology

Methanogenic archaea and methane-synthesizing bacteria in diverse habitats of Yellowstone National Park

Roland Hatzenpichler, PhD - Montana State University

11.11.2021, 16:00 - join online



Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Understanding its sources and sinks is a crucial endeavor in earth system sciences, biogeochemistry, and microbial ecology. It was previously assumed that methanogenesis is restricted to a metabolically highly specialized group of archaea within the phylum Euryarchaeota. However, studies within the last decade have proposed the involvement of several other archaeal lineages in anaerobic methane cycling. These predictions were based on finding the marker gene of anaerobic methane cycling in metagenome-assembled genomes from diverse habitats. While these discoveries are exciting, none of these hypotheses have been experimentally tested and none of the predicted organisms have been brought into culture. Via a combination of targeted mesocosm and cultivation experiments, in situ observations, and cutting-edge single cell targeted physiology measurements our lab tests hypotheses on novel methane-producing microorganisms in hot spring and freshwater habitats of Yellowstone National Park. In my seminar, I will present results from three independent studies conducted by my lab that demonstrate that previously uncharacterized archaea are indeed methanogens and that a hitherto unknown bacterium produces methane from methylated precursors.