Diversity of free-living prokaryotes from a deep-sea site at the Antarctic Polar Front

FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2001 Jul;36(2-3):193-202. doi: 10.1016/s0168-6496(01)00133-7.


To contribute to the understanding of deep-sea planktonic communities, we explored the prokaryotic diversity of a 3000 m deep site at the Antarctic Polar Front using molecular methods. Bacterial 16S rDNA-amplified sequences corresponded to the as yet uncultivated groups SAR11, within the alpha-Proteobacteria, and SAR324, within the delta-Proteobacteria, as well as to the gamma-Proteobacteria, Cytophagales, Planctomyces, Gram-positives, and the group of environmental sequences SAR406. Among them, gamma-proteobacterial sequences were the most abundant and diverse. Within Archaea, and using six different primer sets for 16S rDNA amplification, only euryarchaeotal sequences were retrieved. Most of them clustered with the Thermoplasma-related marine groups II and III, but some corresponded to a recently described group of marine sequences emerging at the base of haloarchaea. Our data suggest that gamma-Proteobacteria and Euryarchaeota may be dominant elements in terms of genetic diversity of the two prokaryotic domains in this deep-sea pelagic area.