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Bacterial community shifts in taxa and diversity in response to localized organic loading in the deep sea

Goffredi, Shana K. and Orphan, Victoria J. (2010) Bacterial community shifts in taxa and diversity in response to localized organic loading in the deep sea. Environmental Microbiology, 12 (2). pp. 344-363. ISSN 1462-2912.

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The deep sea is a unique and extreme environment characterized by low concentrations of highly recalcitrant carbon. As a consequence, large organic inputs have potential to cause significant perturbation. To assess the impact of organic enrichment on deep sea microbial communities, we investigated bacterial diversity in sediments underlying two whale falls at 1820 and 2893 m depth in Monterey Canyon, as compared with surrounding reference sediment 10–20 m away. Bacteroidetes, Epsilonproteobacteria and Firmicutes were recovered primarily from whale fall-associated sediments, while Gammaproteobacteria and Planctomycetes were found primarily within reference sediments. Abundant Deltaproteobacteria were recovered from both sediment types, but the Desulfobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae families were observed primarily beneath the whale falls. UniFrac analysis revealed that bacterial communities from the two whale falls (~30 km apart) clustered to the exclusion of corresponding reference sediment communities, suggesting that deposition of whale fall biomass is more influential on deep sea microbial communities than specific seafloor location. The bacterial population at whale-1820 at 7 months post deposition was less diverse than reference sediments, with Delta- and Epsilonproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes making up 89% of the community. At 70 months, bacterial diversity in reference sediments near whale-2893 had decreased as well. Over this time, there was a convergence of each community's membership at the phyla level, although lower-taxonomic-level composition remained distinct. Long-term impact of organic carbon loading from the whale falls was also evident by elevated total organic carbon and enhanced proteolytic activity for at least 17–70 months. The response of the sedimentary microbial community to large pulses of organic carbon is complex, likely affected by increased animal bioturbation, and may be sustained over time periods that span years to perhaps even decades.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Goffredi, Shana K.0000-0002-9110-9591
Orphan, Victoria J.0000-0002-5374-6178
Additional Information:© 2009 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Received 8 June, 2009; accepted 29 July, 2009. This work was supported in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (to V.J.O.) and the US National Science Foundation (MCB-0454860 to S.K.G.). The authors thank: the R.O.V. Tiburon pilots and R.V.Western Flyer crew, the R.O.V. Ventana pilots and R.V. Pt. Lobos crew, chief scientist R.C. Vrijenhoek for allowing our participation in research cruises, S. Johnson and W.J. Jones for shipboard support, R. Wilpiszeski for laboratory assistance at Caltech, G. Martin for laboratory space at Occidental College, D. Gruber for conducting protease assays with funding via the Occidental College summer research program, R. Lee for TOC and isotope analyses, B. Ussler for help with methane measurements, N. Dalleska for IC-PMS assistance, O. Mason and B. Harrison for help with ARB, W. Ziebis for hydrogen analysis and V. Rich for invaluable scientific and editorial advice. Images in Fig. 1 were provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). The authors thank Bob Vrijenhoek (MBARI) and members of his lab as well as the captain and crew of the R.V. Western Flyer and pilots of the R.O.V. Tiburon who played an instrumental role in this study. [Correction added on 1 November 2009, after first online publication: the preceding sentence was added after first online publication.]
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100304-142423277
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:17668
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:05 Mar 2010 21:15
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:37

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