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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-115
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-115
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Apr 2020

14 Apr 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal BG and is expected to appear here in due course.

Characterization of particle-associated and free-living bacterial and archaeal communities along the water columns of the South China Sea

Jiangtao Li1, Lingyuan Gu1, Shijie Bai2, Jie Wang3, Lei Su1, Bingbing Wei1, Li Zhang4, and Jiasong Fang5,6,7 Jiangtao Li et al.
  • 1StateKey Laboratory of Marine Geology, Tongji University, Shanghai200092, China
  • 2Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Sanya, China
  • 3College of Marine Science, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China
  • 4Schoolof Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
  • 5The Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Hadal Science and Technology, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China
  • 6Laboratory for Marine Biology and Biotechnology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266237, China
  • 7Department of Natural Sciences, Hawaii Pacific University, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA

Abstract. There is a growing recognition of the role of particle-attached (PA) and free-living (FL) microorganisms in marine carbon cycle. However, current understanding of PA and FL microbial communities is largely on those in the upper photic zone, and relatively fewer studies have focused on microbial communities of the deep ocean. Moreover, archaeal populations receive even less attention. In this study, we determined bacterial and archaeal community structures of both the PA and FL assemblages at different depths, from the surface to the bathypelagic zone along two water column profiles in the South China Sea. Our results suggest that environmental parameters including depth, seawater age, salinity, POC, DOC, DO and silicate play a role in structuring these microbial communities. Generally, the PA microbial communities have relatively low abundance and diversity compared with the FL microbial communities at most depths. Further microbial community analysis revealed that PA and FL fractions generally accommodate significantly divergent microbial compositions at each depth. The PA bacterial communities mainly comprise members of Actinobacteria and γ-Proteobacteria, together with some from Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes and δ-Proteobacteria, while the FL bacterial lineages are mostly distributed within α-, γ-Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes, along with certain members from β-, δ-Proteobacteria, Planctomycetes and Firmicutes. Moreover, there is an obvious shifting in the dominant PA and FL bacterial compositions along the depth profiles from the surface to the bathypelagic deep. By contrast, both PA and FL archaeal communities dominantly consist of Marine Group II (MGII) and Marine Group I (MGI), together with variable minor Marine Group III (MGIII), Methanosarcinales, Marine Benthic Group A (MBG-A) and Woesearchaeota. However, the pronounced distinction of archaeal community compositions between PA and FL fractions are observed at finer taxonomic level. A high proportion overlap of microbial compositions between PA and FL fractions implies that most microorganisms are potentially generalists with PA and FL dual lifestyle for versatile metabolic flexibility. In addition, microbial distribution along the depth profile indicates a potential vertical connectivity between the surface-specific microbial lineages and those in the deep ocean, likely through microbial attachment to sinking particles.

Jiangtao Li et al.

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Jiangtao Li et al.

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Short summary
Few studies have focused on the particle-attached and free-living microbial communities of the deep ocean. Here we determined PA and FL microbial communities along depth profile of the SCS. PA and FL fractions accommodated divergent microbial compositions, and most of them are potentially generalists with PA and FL dual lifestyle. A potential vertical connectivity between surface-specific microbes and those in the deep ocean was indicated likely through microbial attachment to sinking particles.
Few studies have focused on the particle-attached and free-living microbial communities of the...
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