Asgard is an archaeal superphylum that might hold the key to understand the origin of eukaryotes, but its diversity and ecological roles remain poorly understood. Here, we reconstructed 15 metagenomic-assembled genomes from coastal sediments covering most known Asgard archaea and a novel group, which is proposed as a new Asgard phylum named as the “Gerdarchaeota”. Genomic analyses predict that Gerdarchaeota are facultative anaerobes in utilizing both organic and inorganic carbon. Unlike their closest relatives Heimdallarchaeota, Gerdarchaeota have genes encoding for cellulase and enzymes involved in the tetrahydromethanopterin-based Wood—Ljungdahl pathway. Transcriptomics showed that most of our identified Asgard archaea are capable of degrading organic matter, including peptides, amino acids and fatty acids, occupying ecological niches in different depths of layers of the sediments. Overall, this study broadens the diversity of the mysterious Asgard archaea and provides evidence for their ecological roles in coastal sediments.
- Asgard archaea
- coastal sediment