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Microbial community structure in hadal sediments: high similarity along trench axes and strong changes along redox gradients

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Wenzhoefer,  Frank
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schauberger, C., Glud, R. N., Hausmann, B., Trouche, B., Maignien, L., Poulain, J., et al. (2021). Microbial community structure in hadal sediments: high similarity along trench axes and strong changes along redox gradients. ISME JOURNAL. doi:10.1038/s41396-021-01021-w.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-8255-4
Abstract
Hadal trench sediments are hotspots of biogeochemical activity in the deep sea, but the biogeochemical and ecological factors that shape benthic hadal microbial communities remain unknown. Here, we sampled ten hadal sites from two trench regions with a vertical resolution of down to 1 cm. We sequenced 16S rRNA gene amplicons using universal and archaea-specific primer sets and compared the results to biogeochemical parameters. Despite bathymetric and depositional heterogeneity we found a high similarity of microbial communities within each of the two trench axes, while composition at the phylum level varied strongly with sediment depth in conjunction with the redox stratification into oxic, nitrogenous, and ferruginous zones. As a result, communities of a given sediment horizon were more similar to each other across a distance of hundreds of kilometers within each trench, than to those of adjacent horizons from the same sites separated only by centimeters. Total organic carbon content statistically only explained a small part of the variation within and between trenches, and did not explain the community differences observed between the hadal and adjacent shallower sites. Anaerobic taxa increased in abundance at the top of the ferruginous zone, seeded by organisms deposited at the sediment surface and surviving burial through the upper redox zones. While an influence of other potential factors such as geographic isolation, hydrostatic pressure, and non-steady state depositional regimes could not be discerned, redox stratification and diagenesis appear to be the main selective forces that structure community composition in hadal sediments.