Diversity structure of culturable bacteria isolated from the Fildes Peninsula (King George Island, Antarctica): A phylogenetic analysis perspective.
ABSTRACT: It has been proposed that Antarctic environments select microorganisms with unique biochemical adaptations, based on the tenet 'Everything is everywhere, but, the environment selects' by Baas-Becking. However, this is a hypothesis that has not been extensively evaluated. This study evaluated the fundamental prediction contained in this hypothesis-in the sense that species are structured in the landscape according to their local habitats-, using as study model the phylogenetic diversity of the culturable bacteria of Fildes Peninsula (King George Island, Antarctica). Eighty bacterial strains isolated from 10 different locations in the area, were recovered. Based on phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences, the isolates were grouped into twenty-six phylotypes distributed in three main clades, of which only six are exclusive to Antarctica. Results showed that phylotypes do not group significantly by habitat type; however, local habitat types had phylogenetic signal, which support the phylogenetic niche conservatism hypothesis and not a selective role of the environment like the Baas-Becking hypothesis suggests. We propose that, more than habitat selection resulting in new local adaptations and diversity, local historical colonization and species sorting (i.e. differences in speciation and extinction rates that arise by interaction of species level traits with the environment) play a fundamental role on the culturable bacterial diversity in Antarctica.
Project description:The spatial distribution of microbes on our planet is famously formulated in the Baas Becking hypothesis as "everything is everywhere but the environment selects." While this hypothesis does not strictly rule out patterns caused by geographical effects on ecology and historical founder effects, it does propose that the remarkable dispersal potential of microbes leads to distributions generally shaped by environmental factors rather than geographical distance. By constructing sequence similarity networks from uncultured environmental samples, we show that microbial gene pool distributions are not influenced nearly as much by geography as ecology, thus extending the Bass Becking hypothesis from whole organisms to microbial genes. We find that gene pools are shaped by their broad ecological niche (such as sea water, fresh water, host, and airborne). We find that freshwater habitats act as a gene exchange bridge between otherwise disconnected habitats. Finally, certain antibiotic resistance genes deviate from the general trend of habitat specificity by exhibiting a high degree of cross-habitat mobility. The strong cross-habitat mobility of antibiotic resistance genes is a cause for concern and provides a paradigmatic example of the rate by which genes colonize new habitats when new selective forces emerge.
Project description:Arbuscular fungi have a major role in directing the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems yet little is known about their biogeographical distribution. The Baas-Becking hypothesis ('everything is everywhere, but, the environment selects') was tested by investigating the distribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) at the landscape scale and the influence of environmental factors and geographical distance in determining community composition. AMF communities in Trifolium repens and Lolium perenne roots were assessed in 40 geographically dispersed sites in Ireland representing different land uses and soil types. Field sampling and laboratory bioassays were used, with AMF communities characterised using 18S rRNA terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Landscape-scale distribution of AMF was driven by the local environment. AMF community composition was influenced by abiotic variables (pH, rainfall and soil type), but not land use or geographical distance. Trifolium repens and L. perenne supported contrasting communities of AMF, and the communities colonising each plant species were consistent across pasture habitats and over distance. Furthermore, L. perenne AMF communities grouped by soil type within pasture habitats. This is the largest and most comprehensive study that has investigated the landscape-scale distribution of AMF. Our findings support the Baas-Becking hypothesis at the landscape scale and demonstrate the strong influence the local environment has on determining AMF community composition.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Environments and their organic content are generally not static and isolated, but in a constant state of exchange and interaction with each other. Through physical or biological processes, organisms, especially microbes, may be transferred between environments whose characteristics may be quite different. The transferred microbes may not survive in their new environment, but their DNA will be deposited. In this study, we compare two environmental sequencing projects to find molecular evidence of transfer of microbes over vast geographical distances. METHODOLOGY: By studying synonymous nucleotide composition, oligomer frequency and orthology between predicted genes in metagenomics data from two environments, terrestrial and aquatic, and by correlating with phylogenetic mappings, we find that both environments are likely to contain trace amounts of microbes which have been far removed from their original habitat. We also suggest a bias in direction from soil to sea, which is consistent with the cycles of planetary wind and water. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the Baas-Becking hypothesis formulated in 1934, which states that due to dispersion and population sizes, microbes are likely to be found in widely disparate environments. Furthermore, the availability of genetic material from distant environments is a possible font of novel gene functions for lateral gene transfer.
Project description:The diversity and cold-active hydrolytic enzymes of culturable bacteria associated with sandy sediment from Nella Fjord, Eastern Antarctica (69°22'6? S, 76°21'45? E) was investigated. A total of 33 aerobic heterotrophic bacterial strains were isolated at 4 °C. These bacterial isolates could be sorted into 18 phylotypes based on the 16S rRNA gene sequence belonging to four phyla, namely Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria. Only seven isolates were psychrophilic, 15 isolates were moderately psychrophilic, and 11 isolates were psychrotolerant. More than 72% of the isolates required sodium chloride to grow. Esterase, ?-glucosidase and proteases activities at 4 °C were detected in more than 45% of the strains while approximately 21%, 15% and 12% of the strains possessed lipase, amylase and chitinase, respectively. These results indicate that a relatively high culturable bacterial diversity is present within marine sediment of Nella Fjord and it could serve as an ideal candidate region for bioprospecting.
Project description:The human microbiome project (HMP) has made it possible to test important ecological theories for arguably the most important ecosystem to human health-the human microbiome. Existing limited number of studies have reported conflicting evidence in the case of the neutral theory; the present study aims to comprehensively test the neutral theory with extensive HMP datasets covering all five major body sites inhabited by the human microbiome. Utilizing 7437 datasets of bacterial community samples, we discovered that only 49 communities (less than 1%) satisfied the neutral theory, and concluded that human microbial communities are not neutral in general. The 49 positive cases, although only a tiny minority, do demonstrate the existence of neutral processes. We realize that the traditional doctrine of microbial biogeography "Everything is everywhere, but the environment selects" first proposed by Baas-Becking resolves the apparent contradiction. The first part of Baas-Becking doctrine states that microbes are not dispersal-limited and therefore are neutral prone, and the second part reiterates that the freely dispersed microbes must endure selection by the environment. Therefore, in most cases, it is the host environment that ultimately shapes the community assembly and tip the human microbiome to niche regime.
Project description:Viral communities are important for ecosystem function as they are involved in critical biogeochemical cycles and controlling host abundance. This study investigates riverine viral communities around a small rural town that influences local water inputs. Myoviridae, Siphoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Mimiviridae, Herpesviridae, and Podoviridae were the most abundant families. Viral species upstream and downstream of the town were similar, with Synechoccocus phage, salinus, Prochlorococcus phage, Mimivirus A, and Human herpes 6A virus most abundant, contributing to 4.9-38.2% of average abundance within the metagenomic profiles, with Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus present in metagenomes as the expected hosts for the phage. Overall, the majority of abundant viral species were or were most similar to those of marine origin. At over 60 km to the river mouth, the presence of marine communities provides some support for the Baas-Becking hypothesis "everything is everywhere, but, the environment selects." We conclude marine microbial species may occur more frequently in freshwater systems than previously assumed, and hence may play important roles in some freshwater ecosystems within tens to a hundred kilometers from the sea.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Río Tinto (RT) is distinguished from other acid mine drainage systems by its natural and ancient origins. Microbial life from all three domains flourishes in this ecosystem, but bacteria dominate metabolic processes that perpetuate environmental extremes. While the patchy geochemistry of the RT likely influences the dynamics of bacterial populations, demonstrating which environmental variables shape microbial diversity and unveiling the mechanisms underlying observed patterns, remain major challenges in microbial ecology whose answers rely upon detailed assessments of community structures coupled with fine-scale measurements of physico-chemical parameters. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:By using high-throughput environmental tag sequencing we achieved saturation of richness estimators for the first time in the RT. We found that environmental factors dictate the distribution of the most abundant taxa in this system, but stochastic niche differentiation processes, such as mutation and dispersal, also contribute to observed diversity patterns. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:We predict that studies providing clues to the evolutionary and ecological processes underlying microbial distributions will reconcile the ongoing debate between the Baas Becking vs. Hubbell community assembly hypotheses.
Project description:Species-centric approaches to biodiversity in ecological research are limited in their ability to reflect the evolutionary history and functional diversity of community assembly. Recently, the introduction of alternative facets of biodiversity, such as phylogenetic and functional diversity, has shed light on this problem and improved our understanding of the processes underlying biodiversity patterns. Here, we investigated the phylogenetic and functional diversity patterns of ?, ? and ? components in woody plant assemblages along regional and local elevational gradients in South Korea. Although the patterns of phylogenetic and functional diversity varied along regional and local elevational transects, the main drivers were partitioned into two categories: regional area or climate for phylogenetic diversity, depending on whether the transect was at a regional or local scale; and habitat heterogeneity for functional diversity, which was derived in elevational bands. Moreover, environmental distance was more important than was geographic distance for phylogenetic and functional ? diversity between paired elevational bands. These results support the hypothesis that niche-based deterministic processes such as environmental filtering and competitive exclusion are fundamental in structuring woody plant assemblages along temperate elevational gradients regardless of scale (regional vs. local) in our study areas.
Project description:The fungal diversity in deep-sea environments has recently gained an increasing amount attention. Our knowledge and understanding of the true fungal diversity and the role it plays in deep-sea environments, however, is still limited. We investigated the fungal community structure in five sediments from a depth of ? 4000 m in the East India Ocean using a combination of targeted environmental sequencing and traditional cultivation. This approach resulted in the recovery of a total of 45 fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and 20 culturable fungal phylotypes. This finding indicates that there is a great amount of fungal diversity in the deep-sea sediments collected in the East Indian Ocean. Three fungal OTUs and one culturable phylotype demonstrated high divergence (89%-97%) from the existing sequences in the GenBank. Moreover, 44.4% fungal OTUs and 30% culturable fungal phylotypes are new reports for deep-sea sediments. These results suggest that the deep-sea sediments from the East India Ocean can serve as habitats for new fungal communities compared with other deep-sea environments. In addition, different fungal community could be detected when using targeted environmental sequencing compared with traditional cultivation in this study, which suggests that a combination of targeted environmental sequencing or traditional cultivation alone. This study is the first to report new insights into the fungal communities in deep-sea sediments environmental sequencing and traditional cultivation will generate a more diverse fungal community in deep-sea environments than using either from the East Indian Ocean, which increases our knowledge and understanding of the fungal diversity in deep-sea environments.
Project description:Acaryochloris spp. are unique cyanobacteria which contain chlorophyll d as the predominant pigment. The phylogenetic diversity of Acaryochloris spp. associated with 7 Prochloron- or Synechocystis-containing didemnid ascidians and 1 Synechococcus-containing sponge obtained from the coast of the Republic of Palau was analyzed; we established a PCR primer set designed to selectively amplify the partial 16S rRNA gene of Acaryochloris spp. even in DNA samples containing a large amount of other cyanobacterial and algal DNAs. Polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis with this primer set enabled detection of the phyogenetic diversity of Acaryochloris spp. All the ascidian and sponge samples contained Acaryochloris spp. Fourteen phylotypes that were highly homologous (98-100%) with A. marina MBIC11017 were detected, while only 2 phylotypes were detected with our previously developed method for detecting cyanobacteria. The results also revealed that many uncultured phylotypes of Acaryochloris spp. were associated with those didemnid ascidians, since a clonal culture of only 1 phylotype has been established thus far. No specific relationship was found among the Acaryochloris phylotypes and the genera of the ascidians even when sample localities were identical; therefore, these invertebrates may provide a favorable habitat for Acaryochloris spp. rather than hosts showing any specific symbiotic relationships.