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  1. The Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California is characterized by active seafloor spreading, the rapid deposition of organic-rich sediments, steep geothermal gradients, and abundant methane of mixed thermogenic and microbial origin. Subsurface sediment samples from eight drilling sites with distinct geochemical and thermal profiles were selected for DNA extraction and PCR amplification to explore the diversity of methane-cycling archaea in the Guaymas Basin subsurface. We performed PCR amplifications with general (mcrIRD), and ANME-1 specific primers that target the alpha subunit of methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA). Diverse ANME-1 lineages associated with anaerobic methane oxidation were detected in seven out of the eight drilling sites, preferentially around the methane-sulfate interface, and in several cases, showed preferences for specific sampling sites. Phylogenetically, most ANME-1 sequences from the Guaymas Basin subsurface were related to marine mud volcanoes, seep sites, and the shallow marine subsurface. The most frequently recovered methanogenic phylotypes were closely affiliated with the hyperthermophilic Methanocaldococcaceae, and found at the hydrothermally influenced Ringvent site. The coolest drilling site, in the northern axial trough of Guaymas Basin, yielded the greatest diversity in methanogen lineages. Our survey indicates the potential for extensive microbial methane cycling within subsurface sediments of Guaymas Basin. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 10, 2024