Microbial Eukaryotes in Marine Oxygen Minimum Zones

  • William D. Orsi
  • Virginia P. Edgcomb
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 27)


Increasing ocean temperatures and anthropogenic influences are contributing to marine oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) expansion, with consequent changes in nutrient and climate-active trace gas cycling. As a result, bacterial and archaeal mediation of biogeochemical transformations within marine OMZs has received attention. Less is known about the role of protists within OMZs, despite their potential importance to biogeochemical cycles. Here, we discuss responses of protist populations to water column oxygen deficiency in three ecosystems: the Saanich Inlet, a seasonally anoxic fjord on the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and two examples of permanently anoxic/sulfidic end-member water columns in Cariaco Basin (Venezuela) and Framvaren Fjord (Norway). Small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequencing approaches partnered with multivariate statistical methods have been used to characterize microbial eukaryotes in each of these habitats. Common and unique patterns of community composition exist between the three locations reflecting different responses of components of the protistan community to specific geochemical parameters. Within Saanich Inlet, temporal fluctuations in rare populations of ciliates and flagellates may be significant to biogeochemical cycling particularly as a result of symbioses with, and predation on, other microbes.


Canonical Correspondence Analysis Anammox Bacterium Methanogenic Archaea Oxygen Minimum Zone Renewal Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was performed under the auspices of the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations and NSF MCB-0348407 to VE.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA

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