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Microorganisms 2016, 4(1), 8; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4010008

Extremophiles in an Antarctic Marine Ecosystem

1
Department of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Ellison Building, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
2
British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OET, UK
3
Prudhoe St., Alnwick NE66 1UG, UK
4
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), P.O. Box 156, Svalbard, Longyearbyen N-9171, Norway
Present address: Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research, Biomarker Development, Fabrikstr 10, Basel CH-4002, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ricardo Amils and Elena González Toril
Received: 19 July 2015 / Revised: 28 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 11 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophiles)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [579 KB, uploaded 11 January 2016]   |  

Abstract

Recent attempts to explore marine microbial diversity and the global marine microbiome have indicated a large proportion of previously unknown diversity. However, sequencing alone does not tell the whole story, as it relies heavily upon information that is already contained within sequence databases. In addition, microorganisms have been shown to present small-to-large scale biogeographical patterns worldwide, potentially making regional combinations of selection pressures unique. Here, we focus on the extremophile community in the boundary region located between the Polar Front and the Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the Southern Ocean, to explore the potential of metagenomic approaches as a tool for bioprospecting in the search for novel functional activity based on targeted sampling efforts. We assessed the microbial composition and diversity from a region north of the current limit for winter sea ice, north of the Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Front (SACCF) but south of the Polar Front. Although, most of the more frequently encountered sequences were derived from common marine microorganisms, within these dominant groups, we found a proportion of genes related to secondary metabolism of potential interest in bioprospecting. Extremophiles were rare by comparison but belonged to a range of genera. Hence, they represented interesting targets from which to identify rare or novel functions. Ultimately, future shifts in environmental conditions favoring more cosmopolitan groups could have an unpredictable effect on microbial diversity and function in the Southern Ocean, perhaps excluding the rarer extremophiles. View Full-Text
Keywords: Antarctica; bacteria; biodiversity; metagenome; polar; marine; bioprospecting; fosmid; extremophile; rare Antarctica; bacteria; biodiversity; metagenome; polar; marine; bioprospecting; fosmid; extremophile; rare
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dickinson, I.; Goodall-Copestake, W.; Thorne, M.A.; Schlitt, T.; Ávila-Jiménez, M.L.; Pearce, D.A. Extremophiles in an Antarctic Marine Ecosystem. Microorganisms 2016, 4, 8.

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