Oxygen modulates bacterial community composition in the coastal upwelling waters off central Chile

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Abstract

Bacterial community composition and its relationship to oxygen were investigated in the non-sulfidic shelf waters exposed to seasonal upwelling and oxygen deficiency off central Chile. Using 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and iTAG sequencing analyses of nearly 4 years of monthly sampling through the water column (5–80 m depth), we found a clear partitioning of community composition that could be attributed to dissolved oxygen (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.578) in comparison to other environmental variables, such as light, fluorescence, temperature, salinity, microbial abundance or nutrients. Bacteroidetes (orders Sphingobacteriales and Flavobacteriales), SAR11 (subclades Ia - Candidatus Pelagibacter ubique and II), an unclassified group of Alphaproteobacteria, and SAR86 dominated in waters containing dissolved oxygen concentrations ≥70 μM. In contrast, taxonomic groups associated with capabilities of either oxidative or reductive cycling of inorganic sulfur dominated in waters with dissolved oxygen from ~70 μM to undetectable levels. The dominant groups were Arctic96BD-19, SUP05 and SAR324 (sulfur oxidation) and Desulfobacterales (sulfate reduction). Desulfobacterales are known to come primarily from sulfidic, nitrate/nitrite-depleted waters and sediments. Their presence, therefore, provides taxonomic evidence for pelagic dissimilatory sulfate reduction within oxygen-depleted coastal environments.

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Aldunate, M., De la Iglesia, R., Bertagnolli, A. D., & Ulloa, O. (2018). Oxygen modulates bacterial community composition in the coastal upwelling waters off central Chile. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 156, 68–79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2018.02.001

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