Free-living bacterial communities associated with tubeworm (Ridgeia piscesae) aggregations in contrasting diffuse flow hydrothermal vent habitats at the Main Endeavour Field, Juan de Fuca Ridge

Authors

  • Nathalie L. Forget,

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    • Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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  • S. Kim Juniper

    1. Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
    2. School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Correspondence

Nathalie L. Forget, Department of Biology, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Rd, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V8P 5C2. Tel: 250-721-7141; Fax: 250-721-6200;

E-mail: nforget@uvic.ca

Abstract

We systematically studied free-living bacterial diversity within aggregations of the vestimentiferan tubeworm Ridgeia piscesae sampled from two contrasting flow regimes (High Flow and Low Flow) in the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area (MPA) on the Juan de Fuca Ridge (Northeast Pacific). Eight samples of particulate detritus were recovered from paired tubeworm grabs from four vent sites. Most sequences (454 tag and Sanger methods) were affiliated to the Epsilonproteobacteria, and the sulfur-oxidizing genus Sulfurovum was dominant in all samples. Gammaproteobacteria were also detected, mainly in Low Flow sequence libraries, and were affiliated with known methanotrophs and decomposers. The cooccurrence of sulfur reducers from the Deltaproteobacteria and the Epsilonproteobacteria suggests internal sulfur cycling within these habitats. Other phyla detected included Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Deinococcus–Thermus. Statistically significant relationships between sequence library composition and habitat type suggest a predictable pattern for High Flow and Low Flow environments. Most sequences significantly more represented in High Flow libraries were related to sulfur and hydrogen oxidizers, while mainly heterotrophic groups were more represented in Low Flow libraries. Differences in temperature, available energy for metabolism, and stability between High Flow and Low Flow habitats potentially explain their distinct bacterial communities.

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