The effects of temperature and methane gas levels on the bacterial mats that reside on the gas hydrates in the Barkley Canyon

K. MacLellan \ Oceans First, Issue 2, 2015, pgs. 50-59.

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Methane gas hydrates reside in harsh environments and can be an ecological and environmental hazard if their high pressure and low temperature conditions are not met. However, they are capable of supporting a diverse ecosystem that includes bacterial mats. An Ocean Networks Canada’s observatory allows the hydrates located off the west coast of Vancouver to be continuously monitored by methane and temperature sensors as well as observed seasonally by remotely operated vehicles. These observations made it possible to study the effect that water temperature and methane levels have on the bacterial mats that reside on the top of methane hydrate mounds. High methane levels may result in the decreased presence of bacterial mats due to the bacteria’s adaptation to move through different layers of hydrate sediment when the environment is disturbed.