Immense diversity and interdependence in high temp deep-sea microorganism communities

A new study finds that microorganisms live in richly diverse and interdependent communities in high-temperature geothermal environments in the deep sea. By constructing genomes of 3,635 Bacteria and Archaea from 40 different rock communities, researchers discovered at least 500 new genera and have evidence for two new phyla. Samples from the deep-sea Brothers volcano were especially enriched with different kinds of microorganisms, many endemic to the volcano. The genomic data from this study also showed that many of these organisms depend on one another for survival. Some microorganisms cannot metabolize all of the nutrients they need to survive so they rely on nutrients created by other species in a process known as a 'metabolic handoff.'