Large variability of bathypelagic microbial eukaryotic communities across the world’s oceans

Massimo C. Pernice, Caterina R. Giner, Ramiro Logares, Júlia Perera-Bel, Silvia G. Acinas, Carlos M. Duarte, Josep M. Gasol, Ramon Massana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


In this work, we study the diversity of bathypelagic microbial eukaryotes (0.8 20 μm) in the global ocean. Seawater samples from 3000 to 4000 m depth from 27 stations in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans were analyzed by pyrosequencing the V4 region of the 18S ribosomal DNA. The relative abundance of the most abundant operational taxonomic units agreed with the results of a parallel metagenomic analysis, suggesting limited PCR biases in the tag approach. Although rarefaction curves for single stations were seldom saturated, the global analysis of all sequences together suggested an adequate recovery of bathypelagic diversity. Community composition presented a large variability among samples, which was poorly explained by linear geographic distance. In fact, the similarity between communities was better explained by water mass composition (26% of the variability) and the ratio in cell abundance between prokaryotes and microbial eukaryotes (21%). Deep diversity appeared dominated by four taxonomic groups (Collodaria, Chrysophytes, Basidiomycota and MALV-II) appearing in different proportions in each sample. Novel diversity amounted to 1% of the pyrotags and was lower than expected. Our study represents an essential step in the investigation of bathypelagic microbial eukaryotes, indicating dominating taxonomic groups and suggesting idiosyncratic assemblages in distinct oceanic regions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-958
Number of pages14
JournalThe ISME Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 9 2015


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