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Distribution patterns of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria in sediments of the eastern China marginal seas

Liu, Yuyang, Liu, Jiwen, Yao, Peng, Ge, Tiantian, Qiao, Yanlu, Zhao, Meixun, Zhang, Xiao-Hua
Systematic and applied microbiology 2018 v.41 no.6 pp. 658-668
Archaea, Nitrosospira, bacteria, dissolved oxygen, estuaries, genes, nitrification, oxygen, prokaryotic cells, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rivers, salinity, sediments, water currents, China, East China Sea, Yellow Sea
Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) vary in their contribution to nitrification in different environments. The eastern China marginal seas (ECMS) are featured by complex river runoffs and ocean currents, forming different sediment patches. Here, via quantitative PCR and clone library analysis of the amoA genes, we showed that AOB were more abundant than AOA in ECMS sediments. The abundance, diversity and richness of AOA, but not AOB, were higher in the East China Sea (ECS) than in the Yellow Sea (YS) and Bohai Sea (BS). Nitrosopumilus (AOA) and Nitrosospira (AOB) were predominant lineages, but their abundances varied significantly between ECS, and BS and YS. This was mainly attributed to salinity and dissolved oxygen of the bottom water. The discovery of a high abundance of Nitrosophaera at estuarine sites suggested strong terrigenous influence exerted on the AOA community. In contrast, variations in ocean conditions played more important roles in structuring the AOB community, which was separated by bottom water dissolved oxygen into two groups: the south YS, and the north YS and BS. This study provides a comprehensive insight into the spatial distribution pattern of ammonia-oxidizing prokaryotes in ECMS sediments, laying a foundation for understanding their relative roles in nitrification.