Diversity and community composition of particle-associated and free-living bacteria in mesopelagic and bathypelagic Southern Ocean water masses: Evidence of dispersal limitation in the Bransfield Strait
Limnology and Oceanography
The Southern Ocean constitutes about 10% of the global oceans' volume and is characterized by high primary production. Particulate organic matter (POM) is exported from the photic zone to the deep ocean and sustains life of particle associated (PA) and free-living (FL) bacterial communities in the dark realm. Little is known about the composition and diversity of PA and FL bacterial communities below the photic zone and how they differ among various regions of the Southern Ocean. Therefore, we
... nvestigated the composition of small (3-8 lm) and large (> 8 lm) PA and FL (0.2-3 lm) bacterial communities between 500 m and 3600 m in the Bransfield Strait, Drake Passage, and the south Atlantic Ocean featuring also Southern Ocean water masses. PA bacterial communities had a higher OTU richness and evenness than FL ones. Taxonomic analysis revealed a different community composition between FL and PA bacteria. A large number of OTUs belonging to diverse phyla (Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes, Betaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, and Verrucomicrobia) were significantly enriched on particles; in contrast very few bacterial lineages were FL specialists. Lifestyle (FL vs. PA) and region (Bransfield basin vs. other regions) strongly influenced bacterial communities. Depth explained only marginal fraction of the total variation ( 12%), suggesting that selective processes driven by depth have a smaller effect in the Southern Ocean when compared to life-style (25%) and region (31%). Overall these data indicate a strong influence of isolated water masses such as the basin of the Bransfield Strait on the composition of bacterial communities in the dark ocean.