Correlation between phylogenetic structure and function: examples from deep-sea Shewanella

FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2001 May;35(3):223-230. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2001.tb00807.x.


The genus Shewanella is one of the typical deep-sea bacterial genera. Two isolated deep-sea Shewanella species, Shewanella benthica and Shewanella violacea, were found to be able to grow better under high hydrostatic pressure conditions than at atmospheric pressure. These species are not only piezophilic (barophilic), but also psychrophilic. Many psychrophilic and psychrotolerant Shewanella species have been isolated and characterized from cold environments, such as seawater in Antarctica or the North Sea. Some of these cold-adapted Shewanella were shown to be piezotolerant, meaning that growth occurs in a high-pressure habitat. In this review, we propose that two major sub-genus branches of the genus Shewanella should be recognized taxonomically, one group characterized as high-pressure cold-adapted species that produce substantial amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid, and the other group characterized as mesophilic pressure-sensitive species.