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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Abundance and Composition of Epiphytic Bacterial and Archaeal Ammonia Oxidizers of Marine Red and Brown Macroalgae

Trias, Rosalia; García-Lledó, Arantzazu; Sánchez, Noemí; López-Jurando, José Luis; Hallin, Sara Gates; Bañeras, Lluís


Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) are important for nitrogen cycling in marine ecosystems. Little is known about the diversity and abundance of these organisms on the surface of marine macroalgae, despite the algae's potential importance to create surfaces and local oxygen-rich environments supporting ammonia oxidation at depths with low dissolved oxygen levels. We determined the abundance and composition of the epiphytic bacterial and archaeal ammonia-oxidizing communities on three species of macroalgae, Osmundaria volubilis, Phyllophora crispa, and Laminaria rodriguezii, from the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean Sea). Quantitative PCR of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA and amoA genes was performed. In contrast to what has been shown for most other marine environments, the macroalgae's surfaces were dominated by bacterial amoA genes rather than those from the archaeal counterpart. On the basis of the sequences retrieved from AOB and AOA amoA gene clone libraries from each algal species, the bacterial ammonia-oxidizing communities were related to Nitrosospira spp. and to Nitrosomonas europaea and only 6 out of 15 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were specific for the host species. Conversely, the AOA diversity was higher (43 OTUs) and algal species specific, with 17 OTUs specific for L. rodriguezii, 3 for 0. volubilis, and 9 for P. crispa. Altogether, the results suggest that marine macroalgae may exert an ecological niche for AOB in marine environments, potentially through specific microbe-host interactions.

Published in

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
2012, Volume: 78, number: 2, pages: 318-325

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science
    Marine Engineering
    Environmental Sciences

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