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Microbial community diversity of the eastern Atlantic Ocean reveals geographic differences

Author(s): C. J. Friedline | R. B. Franklin | S. L. McCallister | M. C. Rivera

Journal: Biogeosciences Discussions
ISSN 1810-6277

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 109;
Date: 2012;
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Prokaryotic communities are recognized as major drivers of the biogeochemical processes in the oceans. However, the genetic diversity and composition of those communities is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the eubacterial communities in three different water layers: surface (2–20 m), deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM; 28–90 m), and deep (100–4600 m) at nine stations along the eastern Atlantic Ocean from 42.8° N to 23.7° S. In order to describe the dynamics of the eubacterial assemblages in relation to depth, associated environmental properties, and Longhurstian ecological provinces community DNA was extracted from 16 samples, from which the V6 region of 16s rDNA was PCR-amplified with eubacteria-specific primers, and the PCR amplicons were pyrosequenced. A total of 352 029 sequences were generated; after quality filtering and processing, 257 260 sequences were clustered into 2871 normalized Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) using a definition of 97% sequence identity. Comparisons of the phylogenetic affiliation of those 2871 OTUs show more than 54% of them were assigned to the Proteobacteria, with the Alphaproteobacteria representing 4% of the total Proteobacteria OTUs, and the Gammaproteobacteria representing 22%. Within the Alphaproteobacteria-affiliated OTUs, 44% of the OTUs were associated with the ubiquitous SAR11 clade. The phylum Cyanobacteria represent 10% of the reads, with the majority of those reads among the GpIIa family including Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. Among the Gammaproteobacteria, a single OTU affiliated to Alteromonas comprises ~3% of the abundance. The phyla Bacteroidetes, Verrucomicrobia, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes represent approximately 7%, 0.8%, 2%, and 0.05% of the read abundance, respectively. Community ecology statistical analyses and a novel implementation of Bayesian inference suggests that eastern Atlantic Ocean eubacterial assemblages are vertically stratified and associated with water layers characterized by unique environmental signals (e.g., temperature, salinity, and nutrients). Genetic composition of eubacterial communities from the same water layer are more similar to each other than to the communities from different water layers. Moreover, within the same water layer the separation of the communities appears to show a significant distance effect. Surface eubacterial communities displayed a general congruency with the ecological provinces defined by Longhurst with exceptions usually associated with unique hydrographic and biogeochemical features. Collectively, our findings suggest that a vertical and latitudinal biogeographical signature is present in the studied communities and that both environmental parameters and ecological provinces are drivers of eubacterial assemblages in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
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