Microbial community composition of anoxic marine sediments in the Bay of Cádiz (Spain)

Thorsten Köchling, Pablo Lara-Martín, Eduardo González-Mazo, Ricardo Amils, José Luis Sanz
International Microbiology: the Official Journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology 2011, 14 (3): 143-54
The composition of the microbial community inhabiting the anoxic coastal sediments of the Bay of Cádiz (southern Spain) was investigated using a molecular approach consisting of PCR cloning and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), based on 16S rRNA sequences. The total cell count was 1-5 × 10⁸ cells/g sediment and, as determined by catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescent in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH), the proportion of Bacteria to Archaea was about 70:30. The analysis of 16S-rRNA gene sequences revealed a wide spectrum of microorganisms, which could be grouped into 111 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Many of the OTUs showed high phylogenetic similarity to microorganisms living in marine sediments of diverse geographic origin. The phylogenetic groups that were predominantly detected were Firmicutes, Deltaproteobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria, accounting for 23, 15, and 14% of the clones, respectively. Diversity in the domain Archaea was significantly lower than in the domain Bacteria. The majority of the archaeal OTUs belonged to the Crenarchaeota phylum. Since most of the sequences could not be identified precisely at the genus/species level, the functional roles of the microorganisms in the ecosystem could not be inferred. However, seven OTUs affiliated with the Delta- and Epsilonproteobacteria were identified down to the genus level, with all of the identified genera known to occur in sulfate-rich marine environments.

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