Localized High Abundance Of Marine Group Ii Archaea In The Subtropical Pearl River Estuary: Implications For Their Niche Adaptation

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Environmental Microbiology


Blackwell Publishing Ltd





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Marine Group II archaea are widely distributed in global oceans and dominate the total archaeal community within the upper euphotic zone of temperate waters. However, factors controlling the distribution of MGII are poorly delineated and the physiology and ecological functions of these still-uncultured organisms remain elusive. In this study, we investigated the planktonic MGII associated with particles and in free-living forms in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) over a 10-month period. We detected high abundance of particle-associated MGII in PRE (up to ∼108 16S rRNA gene copies/l), which was around 10-fold higher than the free-living MGII in the same region, and an order of magnitude higher than previously reported in other marine environments. 10‰ salinity appeared to be a threshold value for these MGII because MGII abundance decreased sharply below it. Above 10‰ salinity, the abundance of MGII on the particles was positively correlated with phototrophs and MGII in the surface water was negatively correlated with irradiance. However, the abundances of those free-living MGII showed positive correlations with salinity and temperature, suggesting the different physiological characteristics between particle-attached and free-living MGIIs. A nearly completely assembled metagenome, MGIIa_P, was recovered using metagenome binning methods. Compared with the other two MGII genomes from surface ocean, MGIIa_P contained higher proportions of glycoside hydrolases, indicating the ability of MGIIa_P to hydrolyse glycosidic bonds in complex sugars in PRE. MGIIa_P is the first assembled MGII metagenome containing a catalase gene, which might be involved in scavenging reactive oxygen species generated by the abundant phototrophs in the eutrophic PRE. Our study presented the widespread and high abundance of MGII in the water columns of PRE, and characterized the determinant abiotic factors affecting their distribution. Their association with heterotrophs, preference for particles and resourceful metabolic traits indicate MGII might play a significant role in metabolising organic matters in the PRE and other temperate estuarine systems. © 2017 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd



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