Bacteria play an important role in the marine biogeochemical cycles. However, research on the bacterial community structure of the Indian Ocean is scarce, particularly within the vertical dimension. In this study, we investigated the bacterial diversity of the pelagic, mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones of the southwestern Indian Ocean (50.46°E, 37.71°S). The clone libraries constructed by 16S rRNA gene sequence revealed that most phylotypes retrieved from the Indian Ocean were highly divergent from those retrieved from other oceans. Vertical differences were observed based on the analysis of natural bacterial community populations derived from the 16S rRNA gene sequences. Based on the analysis of the nasA gene sequences from GenBank database, a pair of general primers was developed and used to amplify the bacterial nitrate-assimilating populations. Environmental factors play an important role in mediating the bacterial communities in the Indian Ocean revealed by canonical correlation analysis.
Keywords: 16S rRNA gene sequence; Assimilatory nitrate reductase gene nasA; Indian Ocean; Nitrate assimilation.