The latest advances in the field of microbial ecology have shown that planktonic Archaea are one of the most abundant unicellular microorganisms of the oceans. However, no information is available on the contribution this group makes to the prokaryote assemblages that inhabit the eastern South Pacific Ocean. Here, we describe the relative abundance and vertical distribution of planktonic Archaea off northern and central-southern Chile. Data come from several cruises and a 45-month time series at a station located on the shelf off central-southern Chile. Both the taxonomic composition of the prokaryote community and its relative abundance were determined using quantitative dot blot 16S-rRNA hybridizations. Total Archaea in central-southern Chile made up 6-87% of the prokaryote rRNA in the water column and did not present evidence of any seasonal pattern. Crenarchaea were the most abundant archaeal group at this site and were significantly associated with the ammonium concentration (r2=0.16, p=0.0003, n=80). Archaeal abundance in the time series was usually greater in the deeper layer (>50 m), with contributions reaching up to ∼90% of the prokaryote rRNA on certain occasions, and decreasing towards the surface. Important increments in the relative abundance of total Archaea were observed on given dates at the surface of the time-series station off central-southern Chile. Off northern Chile, total Archaea normally contributed from ∼10% to 50% of the prokaryote rRNA found between 10 and 1000 m, and were generally important in the mesopelagic realm. Our results indicate that Archaea constitute an important fraction of the prokaryote assemblage in the water column of the Humboldt Current System, especially in the oxygen minimum zone.
|Número de páginas||10|
|Publicación||Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography|
|Estado||Publicada - 15 jul 2009|
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