Microbial diversity in the deep sea and the underexplored "rare biosphere"

Mitchell L. Sogin*, Hilary G. Morrison, Julie A. Huber, David Mark Welch, Susan M. Huse, Phillip R. Neal, Jesus M. Arrieta, Gerhard J. Herndl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2466 Scopus citations

Abstract

The evolution of marine microbes over billions of years predicts that the composition of microbial communities should be much greater than the published estimates of a few thousand distinct kinds of microbes per liter of seawater. By adopting a massively parallel tag sequencing strategy, we show that bacterial communities of deep water masses of the North Atlantic and diffuse flow hydrothermal vents are one to two orders of magnitude more complex than previously reported for any microbial environment. A relatively small number of different populations dominate all samples, but thousands of low-abundance populations account for most of the observed phylogenetic diversity. This "rare biosphere" is very ancient and may represent a nearly inexhaustible source of genomic innovation. Members of the rare biosphere are highly divergent from each other and, at different times in earth's history, may have had a profound impact on shaping planetary processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12115-12120
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume103
Issue number32
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 8 2006

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Low abundance
  • Marine
  • Microbes
  • Rarefaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial diversity in the deep sea and the underexplored "rare biosphere"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this