Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Microbial diversity below seafloor is as rich as on Earth's surface


 

For the first time, researchers have mapped the biological diversity of marine sediment, one of Earth's largest global biomes. The research team discovered that microbial diversity in the dark, energy-limited world beneath the seafloor is as diverse as in Earth's surface biomes.

 

Microbiologists analyzed 299 samples of marine sediment collected as core samples from 40 sites around the globe. Their sample depths ranged from the seafloor to 678 meters below it. To accurately determine the diversity of microbial communities, the authors extracted and sequenced DNA from each frozen sample under the same clean laboratory condition.

 

The 16S rRNA gene sequences (approximately 50 million sequences) obtained through comprehensive next-generation sequencing were analyzed to determine microbial community composition in each sample.

 

From these 50 million sequences, the research team discovered nearly 40,000 different types of microorganisms in marine sediment, with diversity generally decreasing with depth. The team found that microbial community composition differs significantly between organic-rich sediment of continental margins and nutrient-poor sediment of the open ocean, and that the presence or absence of oxygen and the concentration of organic matter are major factors in determining community composition.

 

By comparing their results to previous studies of topsoil and seawater, the researchers discovered that each of these three global biomes -- marine sediment, topsoil, and seawater -- has different microbial communities but similar total diversity.

 

See:

 

Tatsuhiko Hoshino, Hideyuki Doi, Go-Ichiro Uramoto, Global diversity of microbial communities in marine sediment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020; 201919139 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1919139117

 

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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