The vertical distribution of prokaryotes in the surface sediment of Jiaolong cold seep at the northern South China Sea
In deep-sea cold seeps, microbial communities are shaped by geochemical components in seepage solutions. In the present study, we report the composition of microbial communities and potential metabolic activities in the surface sediment of Jiaolong cold seep at the northern South China Sea. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons revealed that a majority of the microbial inhabitants of the surface layers (0–6 cm) were sulfur oxidizer bacteria Sulfurimonas and archaeal methane consumer ANME-1, while sulfate reducer bacteria SEEP-SRB1, ANME-1 and ANME-2 dominated the bottom layers (8–14 cm). The potential ecological roles of the microorganisms were further supported by the presence of functional genes for methane oxidation, sulfur oxidation, sulfur reduction and nitrate reduction in the metagenomes. Metagenomic analysis revealed a significant correlation between coverage of 16S rRNA gene of sulfur oxidizer bacteria, functional genes involved in sulfur oxidation and nitrate reduction in different layers, indicating that sulfur oxidizing may be coupled to nitrate reducing at the surface layers of Jiaolong seeping site. This is probably related to the sulfur oxidizers of Sulfurimonas and Sulfurovum, which may be the capacity of nitrate reduction or associated with unidentified syntrophic nitrate-reducing microbes in the surface of the cold seep.
KeywordsANME SRB Cold seep Metagenome South China Sea
The team members of the Jiaolong manned submersible are thankful for their efforts in the sampling cruise. The present study was supported by National Science Foundation of China (nos. 41476104 and 31460001), The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0302500) and the Strategic Priority Research Program B of Chinese Academy of Sciences, nos. XDB06010201 and XDB06010102.
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