Methanogens are microorganisms that produce methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 as a metabolic byproduct in anoxic
Hypoxia (environmental)
Hypoxia, or oxygen depletion, is a phenomenon that occurs in aquatic environments as dissolved oxygen becomes reduced in concentration to a point where it becomes detrimental to aquatic organisms living in the system...

 conditions. They are classified as archaea
The Archaea are a group of single-celled microorganisms. A single individual or species from this domain is called an archaeon...

, a group quite distinct from bacteria. They are common in wetlands, where they are responsible for marsh gas, and in the guts of animals such as ruminant
A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again...

s and humans, where they are responsible for the methane content of belching in ruminants and flatulence
Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply gas...

 in humans. In marine
Marine (ocean)
Marine is an umbrella term. As an adjective it is usually applicable to things relating to the sea or ocean, such as marine biology, marine ecology and marine geology...

Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

s biomethanation is generally confined to where sulfate
In inorganic chemistry, a sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid.-Chemical properties:...

s are depleted, below the top layers.