Cruising the marine halomethane cycle: Microbiology, biochemistry and geochemistry of reference bacteria, new microbial players and underlying processes (MAHABIO)
Markus Greule, Rebekka Lauer, Bernd Knape, Frank Keppler
Thierry Nadalig, Stehphane Vuilleumier, Université de Strasbourg
Agnès Hirschler-Réa, Université Aix-Marseille
Matthias Boll, Albert-Ludwig Universität Freiburg
The main objective of the MAHABIO interdisciplinary consortium is to specifically investigate the biogeochemical chloromethane cycle in the marine environment, by elucidating the processes underlying marine production and consumption, and by focusing on the bacterial players involved. We believe that a better understanding of this key component of the global biogeochemical halogen cycle requires a renewed, interdisciplinary and integrative approach from the molecular to the global scale.
The underlying hypothesis behind MAHABIO is that our knowledge of the role of bacteria in chloromethane cycling and resulting chloromethane fluxes to the atmosphere is far from complete and therefore inaccurate. Major current limitations in our understanding of the global chloromethane cycle are that:
(i) chloromethane cycling in the marine environment has been largely overlooked;
(ii) demonstration of bacterial chloromethane production and consumption in the marine environment is lacking, under both anoxic and oxic conditions, despite ample evidence of its occurrence;
(iii) chloromethane production and consumption processes have not been studied together and in an integrative way.
MAHABIO will develop the combined study of CH3Cl production and consumption as key processes of the marine halogen cycle, with aerobic and anaerobic reference bacterial systems, and with microcosms set up from environmental samples of key marine compartments.