Duluth WRS Seminar

Investigating the Cultural and Scientific of Lotic to Marine Metalliferous Cold Seeps in Southeast Alaska


Dr. Wendy Smythe
UMD Dept. of Earth and Env. Sciences

November 30, 2020


There has been limited research focused on the microbial ecology on subsurface high-CO2 ecosystems influenced by deep subsurface fluid mixing with surface and marine fluids, due to the difficulty in accessing uncontaminated samples. This study investigated the microbial diversity of several cold springs deeply sourced by a karst aquifer along a lotic to marine ecosystem, groundwater from karst mix with surface fluids as they are discharged from the springs. Groundwaters are enriched with reduced iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and high-CO2 along the salinity gradient at Ya’áats River, Alaska. These cold springs provide an ideal site with which to investigate microbial and metabolic diversity, biogeochemical cycling, and biomineralization. Microbial biofilms associated with the metalliferous cold springs at Ya’áats River were found to be composed of diverse microbial communities, in which the unique mixing of fresh and marine waters allowed for the co-occurrence of freshwater and marine Fe-oxidizing bacterial communities. In addition the site is located on tribal lands and has an extensive cultural history and was used to train Alaska Native undergraduate students to conduct field research in an culturally respectful and ethical manner.

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Meeting ID: 956 8739 9002
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