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Title: Differential co-occurrence relationships shaping ecotype diversification within Thaumarchaeota populations in the coastal ocean water column

Ecological factors contributing to depth-related diversification of marine Thaumarchaeota populations remain largely unresolved. To investigate the role of potential microbial associations in shaping thaumarchaeal ecotype diversification, we examined co-occurrence relationships in a community composition dataset (16S rRNA V4-V5 region) collected as part of a 2-year time series in coastal Monterey Bay. Ecotype groups previously defined based on functional gene diversity—water column A (WCA), water column B (WCB) and Nitrosopumilus-like clusters—were recovered in the thaumarchaeal 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. Networks systematically reflected depth-related patterns in the abundances of ecotype populations, suggesting thaumarchaeal ecotypes as keystone members of the microbial community below the euphotic zone. Differential environmental controls on the ecotype populations were further evident in subnetwork modules showing preferential co-occurrence of OTUs belonging to the same ecotype cluster. Correlated abundances of Thaumarchaeota and heterotrophic bacteria (e.g., Bacteroidetes, Marinimicrobia and Gammaproteobacteria) indicated potential reciprocal interactions via dissolved organic matter transformations. Notably, the networks recovered ecotype-specific associations between thaumarchaeal and Nitrospina OTUs. Even at depths where WCB-like Thaumarchaeota dominated, Nitrospina OTUs were found to preferentially co-occur with WCA-like and Nitrosopumilus-like thaumarchaeal OTUs, highlighting the need to investigate the ecological implications of the composition of nitrifier assemblages in marine waters.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The ISME Journal
Medium: X Size: p. 1144-1158
p. 1144-1158
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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