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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02389

Fine-Scale Biogeography and the Inference of Ecological Interactions among Neutrophilic Iron-Oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria as Determined by a Rule-Based Microbial Network

  • 1College of Charleston, United States
  • 2Western Washington University, United States

Hydrothermal vents, such as those at Lō’ihi Seamount and the Mariana Arc and back-arc, release minerals required to support life from the Earth's crust. In these ecosystems, bacteria and archaea can oxidize the released minerals and therefore play an important role in the biogeochemical cycles of essential nutrients. These organisms often form microbial mats, and the primary producers in these communities can support diverse higher trophic levels. One such class of bacteria are the Zetaproteobacteria. This class of bacteria oxidize iron and commonly produce extracellular iron oxyhydroxide structures that provide structure to the microbial mats, so they are considered foundational members of the community and ecosystem engineers. Zetaproteobacteria are responsible for the majority of iron-oxidation in circumneutral, marine, low-oxygen environments. To study the structure of these communities, microbial mats were collected using a Biomat Sampler, which allows for fine-scale collection of microbial mats. DNA was then extracted and amplified for analysis of the SSU rRNA gene. After quality control and filtering, the SSU rRNA genes from Mariana Arc and Lō’ihi Seamount microbial mat communities were compared pairwise to determine which site exhibits a greater microbial diversity and how much community overlap exists between the two sites. In-depth analysis was performed with the rule-based microbial network (RMN) algorithm to identify a possible competitive relationship across oligotypes of a cosmopolitan Zetaproteobacteria operational taxonomic unit (OTU). This outcome demonstrated the ecological relevance of oligotypes, or fine-scale OTU variants. The oligotype distributions of the cosmopolitan ZetaOTUs varied greatly across the Pacific Ocean. The competitive relationship between dominant oligotypes at Lō’ihi Seamount and the Mariana Arc and back-arc may be driving their differential distributions across the two regions and may result in species divergence within a cosmopolitan ZetaOTU. This implementation of the RMN algorithm can both predict directional relationships within a community and provide insight to the level at which evolution is occurring across ecosystems.

Keywords: Mariana Arc and Back-arc, Lō’ihi Seamount, hydrothermal vent, community structure, rule-based network, zetaproteobacteria

Received: 23 Jun 2019; Accepted: 02 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Duchinski, Moyer, Hager and Fullerton. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Heather Fullerton, College of Charleston, Charleston, 29424, South Carolina, United States,