Species sorting during biofilm assembly by artificial substrates deployed in a cold seep system

Wei Peng Zhang, Yong Wang, Ren Mao Tian, Salim Bougouffa, Bo Yang, Hui Luo Cao, Gen Zhang, Yue Him Wong, Wei Xu, Zenon B. Batang, Abdulaziz M. Al-Suwailem, Xixiang Zhang, Pei-Yuan Qian

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33 Scopus citations


Studies focusing on biofilm assembly in deep-sea environments are rarely conducted. To examine the effects of substrate type on microbial community assembly, biofilms were developed on different substrates for different durations at two locations in the Red Sea: in a brine pool and in nearby bottom water (NBW) adjacent to the Thuwal cold seep II. The composition of the microbial communities in 51 biofilms and water samples were revealed by classification of pyrosequenced 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Together with the microscopic characteristics of the biofilms, the results indicate a stronger selection effect by the substrates on the microbial assembly in the brine pool compared with the NBW. Moreover, the selection effect by substrate type was stronger in the early stages compared with the later stages of the biofilm development. These results are consistent with the hypotheses proposed in the framework of species sorting theory, which states that the power of species sorting during microbial community assembly is dictated by habitat conditions, duration and the structure of the source community. Therefore, the results of this study shed light on the control strategy underlying biofilm-associated marine fouling and provide supporting evidence for ecological theories important for understanding the formation of deep-sea biofilms.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 17 2014


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