Macrofaunal control of microbial community structure in continental margin sediments
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Through a process called "bioturbation," burrowing macrofauna have altered the seafloor habitat and modified global carbon cycling since the Cambrian. However, the impact of macrofauna on the community structure of microorganisms is poorly understood. Here, we show that microbial communities across bioturbated, but geochemically and sedimentologically divergent, continental margin sites are highly similar but differ clearly from those in nonbioturbated surface and underlying subsurface
... subsurface sediments. Solid- and solute-phase geochemical analyses combined with modeled bioturbation activities reveal that dissolved O2 introduction by burrow ventilation is the major driver of archaeal community structure. By contrast, solid-phase reworking, which regulates the distribution of fresh, algal organic matter, is the main control of bacterial community structure. In nonbioturbated surface sediments and in subsurface sediments, bacterial and archaeal communities are more divergent between locations and appear mainly driven by site-specific differences in organic carbon sources.