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Deep-sea bacterial communities in sediments and guts of deposit-feeding holothurians in Portuguese canyons (NE Atlantic)

Amaro, Teresa; Witte, Harry; Herndl, Gerhard J.; Cunha, Marina R.; Billett, David S.M.. 2009 Deep-sea bacterial communities in sediments and guts of deposit-feeding holothurians in Portuguese canyons (NE Atlantic). Deep-Sea Research I, 56 (10). 1834-1843. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2009.05.014

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Abstract/Summary

Deposit-feeding holothurians often dominate the megafauna in bathyal deep-sea settings, in terms of both abundance and biomass. Molpadia musculus is particularly abundant at about 3400 m depth in the Nazaré Canyon on the NE Atlantic Continental Margin. However, these high abundances are unusual for burrowing species at this depth. The objective of this research was to understand the reasons of the massive occurrence of these molpadiid holothurians in the Nazaré Canyon. To address this question we investigated possible trophic interactions with bacteria at sites where the organic content of the sediment was different (Setúbal and Cascais Canyons, NE Atlantic Continental Margin). The molecular fingerprinting technique of Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) with band sequencing, combined with non-metric multi-dimensional scaling and statistical analyses, was used to compare the bacterial community diversity in canyon sediments and holothurian gut contents. Our results suggest that M. musculus does not need to develop a specialised gut bacterial community to aid digestion where the sediment is rich in organic matter (Nazaré Canyon); in contrast, such a community may be developed where the sediment is poorer in organic matter (Cascais Canyon).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2009.05.014
ISSN: 0967-0637
Additional Keywords: Molpadia musculus; Holothurian; Bacteria; Portuguese Canyons; DGGE; NE Atlantic
Date made live: 25 Aug 2009 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/167567

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