Prokaryotic niche partitioning between suspended and sinking marine particles

Duret, Manon T.; Lampitt, Richard S.; Lam, Phyllis. 2018 Prokaryotic niche partitioning between suspended and sinking marine particles. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 11 (3). 386-400.

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Suspended particles are major organic carbon substrates for heterotrophic microorganisms in the mesopelagic ocean (100–1000 m). Nonetheless, communities associated with these particles have been overlooked compared with sinking particles, the latter generally considered as main carbon transporters to the deep ocean. This study is the first to differentiate prokaryotic communities associated with suspended and sinking particles, collected with a marine snow catcher at four environmentally distinct stations in the Scotia Sea. Amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA gene revealed distinct prokaryotic communities associated with the two particle‐types in the mixed‐layer (0–100 m) and upper‐mesopelagic zone (mean dissimilarity 42.5% ± 15.2%). Although common remineralising taxa were present within both particle‐types, gammaproteobacterial Pseudomonadales and Vibrionales, and alphaproteobacterial Rhodobacterales were found enriched in sinking particles up to 32‐fold, while Flavobacteriales (Bacteroidetes) favoured suspended particles. We propose that this niche‐partitioning may be driven by organic matter properties found within both particle‐types: K‐strategists, specialised in the degradation of complex organic compounds, thrived on semi‐labile suspended particles, while generalists r‐strategists were adapted to the transient labile organic contents of sinking particles. Differences between the two particle‐associated communities were more pronounced in the mesopelagic than in the surface ocean, likely resulting from exchanges between particle‐pools enabled by the stronger turbulence.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 17582229
Date made live: 14 Nov 2018 10:39 +0 (UTC)

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