Diversity and biogeography of SAR11 bacteria from the Arctic Ocean


The Arctic Ocean is relatively isolated from other oceans and consists of strongly stratified water masses with distinct histories, nutrient, temperature, and salinity characteristics, therefore providing an optimal environment to investigate local adaptation. The globally distributed SAR11 bacterial group consists of multiple ecotypes that are associated with particular marine environments, yet relatively little is known about Arctic SAR11 diversity. Here, we examined SAR11 diversity using ITS analysis and metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). Arctic SAR11 assemblages were comprised of the S1a, S1b, S2, and S3 clades, and structured by water mass and depth. The fresher surface layer was dominated by an ecotype (S3-derived P3.2) previously associated with Arctic and brackish water. In contrast, deeper waters of Pacific origin were dominated by the P2.3 ecotype of the S2 clade, within which we identified a novel subdivision (P2.3s1) that was rare outside the Arctic Ocean. Arctic S2-derived SAR11 MAGs were restricted to high latitudes and included MAGs related to the recently defined S2b subclade, a finding consistent with bi-polar ecotypes and Arctic endemism. These results place the stratified Arctic Ocean into the SAR11 global biogeography and have identified SAR11 lineages for future investigation of adaptive evolution in the Arctic Ocean.

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Data were collected aboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent in collaboration with researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Institute of Ocean Sciences and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Beaufort Gyre Exploration Program and are available at http://www.whoi.edu/beaufortgyre. We would like to thank both the captain and crew of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, the chief scientist, William J. Williams, and the scientific team aboard. The work was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, a DOE Office of Science User facility, and was supported under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. Funding Discovery grants (DW and CL). This study is also a contribution to ArcticNet, a Network of Centers of Excellence (Canada). The Canadian Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery (CL and DW) and Northern Supplement (CL), the Fonds de recherche du Québec Nature et Technologies (FRQNT) supporting Québec-Océan (CL, DAW) and the Canada Research Chair Program (DAW) are acknowledged.

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Kraemer, S., Ramachandran, A., Colatriano, D. et al. Diversity and biogeography of SAR11 bacteria from the Arctic Ocean. ISME J 14, 79–90 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-019-0499-4

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