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Microbial community and geochemical analyses of trans-trench sediments for understanding the roles of hadal environments

By Satoshi Hiraoka, Miho Hirai, Yohei Matsui, Akiko Makabe, Hiroaki Minegishi, Miwako Tsuda, Juliarni, Eugenio Rastelli, Roberto Danovaro, Cinzia Corinaldesi, Tomo Kitahashi, Eiji Tasumi, Manabu Nishizawa, Ken Takai, Hidetaka Nomaki, Takuro Nunoura

Posted 08 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/729517 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0564-z)

Hadal trench bottom (>6,000 m below sea level) sediments harbor higher microbial cell abundance compared to adjacent abyssal plain sediments. This is supported by the accumulation of sedimentary organic matter (OM), facilitated by trench topography. However, the distribution of benthic microbes in different trench systems has not been explored yet. Here, we carried out small subunit ribosomal RNA gene tag sequencing for 92 sediment subsamples of seven abyssal and seven hadal sediment cores collected from three trench regions in the northwest Pacific Ocean: the Japan, Izu-Ogasawara, and Mariana Trenches. Tag-sequencing analyses showed specific distribution patterns of several phyla associated with oxygen and nitrate. The community structure was distinct between abyssal and hadal sediments, following geographic locations and factors represented by sediment depth. Co-occurrence network revealed six potential prokaryotic consortiums that covaried across regions. Our results further support that the endogenous OM cycle is driven by hadal currents and/or rapid burial shapes microbial community structures at trench bottom sites, in addition to vertical deposition from the surface ocean. Our trans-trench analysis highlights intra- and inter-trench distributions of microbial assemblages and geochemistry in surface seafloor sediments, providing novel insights into ultra-deep-sea microbial ecology, one of the last frontiers on our planet.

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