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Agulhas Current properties shape microbial community diversity and potential functionality
Phoma, S.; Vikram, S.; Jansson, J.K.; Ansorge, I.J.; Cowan, D.A.; Van de Peer, Y.; Makhalanyane, T.P. (2018). Agulhas Current properties shape microbial community diversity and potential functionality. NPG Scientific Reports 8: 10542.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Phoma, S.
  • Vikram, S.
  • Jansson, J.K.
  • Ansorge, I.J.
  • Cowan, D.A.
  • Van de Peer, Y., more
  • Makhalanyane, T.P.

    Understanding the impact of oceanographic features on marine microbial ecosystems remains a major ecological endeavour. Here we assess microbial diversity, community structure and functional capacity along the Agulhas Current system and the Subtropical Front in the South Indian Ocean (SIO). Samples collected from the epipelagic, oxygen minimum and bathypelagic zones were analysed by 16S rRNA gene amplicon and metagenomic sequencing. In contrast to previous studies, we found high taxonomic richness in surface and deep water samples, but generally low richness for OMZ communities. Beta-diversity analysis revealed significant dissimilarity between the three water depths. Most microbial communities were dominated by marine Gammaproteobacteria, with strikingly low levels of picocyanobacteria. Community composition was strongly influenced by specific environmental factors including depth, salinity, and the availability of both oxygen and light. Carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycling capacity in the SIO was linked to several autotrophic and copiotrophic Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria. Taken together, our data suggest that the environmental conditions in the Agulhas Current system, particularly depth-related parameters, substantially influence microbial community structure. In addition, the capacity for biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen and sulfur is linked primarily to the dominant Gammaproteobacteria taxa, whereas ecologically rare taxa drive carbon cycling.

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