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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47 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

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to the suggestions provided by Dr. Y.X. Li and Dr. L.S. He as well as the crew of R/V Aegaeo for providing technical assistance during sample collection. We would also like to thank Mrs Soumaya Belkharchouche and Chan Colin for English editing. This study was supported by awards from the Sanya Institute of Deep Sea Science and Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIDSSE, CAS) (SIDSSE-201206), COMRA program of China (COMRRDA12SC02), the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, No. 2012CB417304), and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (SA-C0040/UK-C0016) to P.Y. Qian. This work was also supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of CAS (XDB06010100 and XDB06010200) and SIDSSE-201305 from the SIDSSE to Y. Wang.


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