Abstract:Shallow-water hydrothermal vents (HTVs) are an ecologically important habitat with a geographic origin similar to that of deep-sea HTVs. Studies on shallow-water HTVs have not only facilitated understanding of the influences of vents on local ecosystems but also helped to extend the knowledge on deep-sea vents. In this study, the diversity of bacterial communities in the sediments of shallow-water HTVs off Kueishan Island, Taiwan, was investigated by examining the 16S ribosomal RNA gene as well as key functional genes involved in chemoautotrophic carbon fixation (aclB, cbbL and cbbM). In the vent area, Sulfurovum and Sulfurimonas of Epsilonproteobacteria appeared to dominate the benthic bacterial community. Results of aclB gene analysis also suggested involvement of these bacteria in carbon fixation using the reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle. Analysis of the cbbM gene showed that Alphaproteobacterial members such as the purple non-sulfur bacteria were the major chemoautotrophic bacteria involving in carbon fixation via the Calvin–Benson–Bassham (CBB) cycle. However, they only accounted for <2% of the total bacterial community in the vent area. These findings suggest that the rTCA cycle is the major chemoautotrophic carbon fixation pathway in sediments of the shallow-water HTVs off Kueishan Island.