Microbial Composition and Variability of Natural Marine Planktonic and Biofouling Communities from the Bay of Bengal
Journal Article - Open Access
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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The Bay of Bengal BoB is the largest bay in the world and presents a unique marine environment that is subjected to severe weather, a distinct hydrographic regime and a large anthropogenic footprint. Despite these features and the BoBs overall economic significance, this ecosystem and its microbiome remain among the most underexplored in the world. In this study, amplicon-based microbial profiling was used to assess the bacterial, archaeal, and micro-eukaryotic content of unperturbed planktonic and biofilmbiofouling communities within the BoB. Planktonic microbial communities were collected during the Southwest monsoon season from surface 2 m, subsurface 75 m, and deep-sea 1000 m waters from six south-central BoB locations and were compared to concomitant mature biofouling communities from photic-zone subsurface moorings similar to 75 m. The results demonstrated vertical stratification of all planktonic communities with geographic variations disappearing in the deep-sea environment. Planktonic microbial diversity was found to be driven by different members of the community, with the most dominant phylotypes driving the diversity of the photic zone and rarer species playing a more influential role within the deep-sea. Geographic variability was not observed in the co-located biofouling microbiomes, but community composition and variability was found to be driven by depth and the presence of macro-fouling and photosynthetic organisms. Overall, these results provide much needed baselines for longitudinal assessments that can be used to monitor the health and evolution of this dynamic and critically important marine environment.
- Biological Oceanography