Anoxygenic photosynthesis by phototrophic sulfur bacteria is prevalent in microbial mat ecosystems and in restricted, highly stratified aquatic environments. This limited distribution reflects their simultaneous requirements for an anoxic habitat, reduced sulfur to supply electrons for carbon fixation, and an appropriate light regime. Although these conditions were often satisfied in ancient seas, as shown by the distinctive carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments preserved in geological samples going back as far as 1.65 billion y, we can find no record of these organisms growing in today’s generally well-ventilated oceans. An array of carotenoids in sediments from the Namibian shelf suggests that green sulfur bacteria, despite their sensitivity to oxygen, can proliferate during episodic toxic gas eruptions in the Benguela Upwelling System.
|Title||Carotenoid biomarkers in Namibian shelf sediments: Anoxygenic photosynthesis during sulfide eruptions in the Benguela Upwelling System|
|Authors||Jian Ma, Katherine L. French, Xingqian Cui, Donald Bryant, Roger Summons|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Central Energy Resources Science Center|