Airborne Eukaryotes in the Red Sea Region



Airborne Eukaryotic Communities (AEC), rank among the least studied aerobiological components. We describe here the AECs in the global dust belt, the area between the west coast of North Africa and Central Asia, which supports the highest dust fluxes on the planet. Specifically, we sampled atmospheric dust over 14 months from onshore and offshore locations of the Red Sea, the only waterbody that entirely encompassed in the global dust belt. We also sampled surface water samples to determine the potential transfer of taxa across the air-sea interface. To target the eukaryotes, we performed Miseq sequencing of atmospheric dust and surface water samples. Analysis of amplicon sequencing indicates a total pool of 18,816 sequence variants (SVs). Among 33 unique eukaryotic phyla in the AEC over the Red Sea, the most dominant taxa were Streptophyta, Apicomplexa, and Ascomycota. Aerosol eukaryotes originated from various sources and formed more diverse communities than eukaryotic communities of the Red Sea surface water. AECs were dominated by phylotypes released from plant material and soils, and including taxa reported to be harmful to human health. The community composition was significantly influenced by sampling locations and seasonal conditions but not by the origin of the air masses nor dust loads.
Date made availableJun 29 2021

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