Microbiota associated with tubes of Escarpia sp. from cold seeps in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean constitutes a community distinct from that of surrounding marine sediment and water
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As the depth increases and the light fades in oceanic cold seeps, a variety of chemosynthetic-based benthic communities arise. Previous assessments reported polychaete annelids belonging to the family Siboglinidae as part of the fauna at cold seeps, with the ‘Vestimentifera’ clade containing specialists that depend on microbial chemosynthetic endosymbionts for nutrition. Little information exists concerning the microbiota of the external portion of the vestimentiferan trunk wall. We employed 16S rDNA-based metabarcoding to describe the external microbiota of the chitin tubes from the vestimentiferan Escarpia collected from a chemosynthetic community in a cold seep area at the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. The most abundant operational taxonomic unit (OTU) belonged to the family Pirellulaceae (phylum Planctomycetes), and the second most abundant OTU belonged to the order Methylococcales (phylum Proteobacteria), composing an average of 21.1 and 15.4% of the total reads on tubes, respectively. These frequencies contrasted with those from the surrounding environment (sediment and water), where they represent no more than 0.1% of the total reads each. Moreover, some taxa with lower abundances were detected only in Escarpia tube walls. These data constitute on the first report of an epibiont microbial community found in close association with external surface of a cold-seep metazoan, Escarpia sp., from a chemosynthetic community in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean.
KeywordsChemosynthetic community Deep-sea Tube worms Pirellulaceae
We thank PETROBRAS for sponsoring this research and for the permission to publish this paper. João M. M. Ketzer and Eduardo Eizirik acknowledge support from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Luiz Gustavo A. Borges thanks PEGA/PUCRS. We thank the crew of the RV Marion Dufresne for their collaboration in the sampling process and the IPR scientific team Anderson Maraschin and Thais Martinho for image analysis. We thank professor Brasílio Ricardo Cirillo da Silva for statistical support. We also thank High Performance Computing Lab—LAD/PUCRS for allowing access to run the high-throughput sequences analyses.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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