Oceanographic boundaries constrain microbial diversity gradients in the south pacific ocean

Eric J. Raes, Levente Bodrossy, Jodie Van De Kamp, Andrew Bissett, Martin Ostrowski, Mark V. Brown, Swan L.S. Sow, Bernadette Sloyan, Anya M. Waite

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58 Citations (Web of Science)


Marine microbes along with microeukaryotes are key regulators of oceanic biogeochemical pathways. Here we present a high-resolution (every 0.5° of latitude) dataset describing microbial pro- and eukaryotic richness in the surface and just below the thermocline along a 7,000-km transect from 66°S at the Antarctic ice edge to the equator in the South Pacific Ocean. The transect, conducted in austral winter, covered key oceanographic features including crossing of the polar front (PF), the subtropical front (STF), and the equatorial upwelling region. Our data indicate that temperature does not determine patterns of marine microbial richness, complementing the global model data from Ladau et al. [Ladau J, et al. (2013) ISME J 7:1669–1677]. Rather, NH4 +, nanophytoplankton, and primary productivity were the main drivers for archaeal and bacterial richness. Eukaryote richness was highest in the least-productive ocean region, the tropical oligotrophic province. We also observed a unique diversity pattern in the South Pacific Ocean: a regional increase in archaeal and bacterial diversity between 10°S and the equator. Rapoport’s rule describes the tendency for the latitudinal ranges of species to increase with latitude. Our data showed that the mean latitudinal ranges of archaea and bacteria decreased with latitude. We show that permanent oceanographic features, such as the STF and the equatorial upwelling, can have a significant influence on both alpha-diversity and beta-diversity of pro- and eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E8266-E8275
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2018


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