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AbstractA gold rush is currently going on in microbial ecology, which is powered by the possibility to determine the full complexity of microbial communities through next-generation sequencing. Accordingly, enormous efforts are underway to describe microbiomes worldwide, in humans, animals, plants, soil, air and the ocean. While much can be learned from these studies, only experiments will finally unravel mechanisms. One of the key questions is how a microbial community is assembled from a pool of bacteria in the environment, and how it responds to change - be it the increase in CO2 concentration in the ocean, or antibiotic treatment of the gut microbiome. The study by Zhang et al. () in this issue is one of the very few that approaches this problem experimentally in the natural environment. The authors selected a habitat which is both extremely interesting and difficult to access. They studied the Thuwal Seep in the Red Sea at 850 m depth and used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to place a steel frame carrying substrata for biofilm growth into the brine pool and into the adjacent normal bottom water (NBW). Biofilms were allowed to develop for 3 days, and then those that had been growing in the brine pool were transported to normal bottom water and stayed there for another 3 days, and vice versa. The 'switched' biofilms were then compared with their source communities by metagenome sequencing. Strikingly, both 'switched' biofilms were now dominated by the same two species. These species were able to cope with conditions in both source ecosystems, as shown by assembly of their genomes and detection of expression of key genes. The biofilms had adapted to environmental change, rather than to brine pools or NBW. The study shows both the resilience and adaptability of biofilm communities and has implications for microbial ecology in general and even for therapeutic approaches such as transplantation of faecal microbiomes.
CitationBiofilm transplantation in the deep sea. 2016, 25 (9):1905-7 Mol. Ecol.
AffiliationHelmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
The following license files are associated with this item:
- Environmental switching during biofilm development in a cold seep system and functional determinants of species sorting.
- Authors: Zhang W, Tian R, Bo Y, Cao H, Cai L, Chen L, Zhou G, Sun J, Zhang X, Al-Suwailem A, Qian PY
- Issue date: 2016 May
- Species sorting during biofilm assembly by artificial substrates deployed in a cold seep system.
- Authors: Zhang WP, Wang Y, Tian RM, Bougouffa S, Yang B, Cao HL, Zhang G, Wong YH, Xu W, Batang Z, Al-Suwailem A, Zhang XX, Qian PY
- Issue date: 2014 Oct 17
- Distinctive microbial community structure in highly stratified deep-sea brine water columns.
- Authors: Bougouffa S, Yang JK, Lee OO, Wang Y, Batang Z, Al-Suwailem A, Qian PY
- Issue date: 2013 Jun
- Synchronized dynamics of bacterial niche-specific functions during biofilm development in a cold seep brine pool.
- Authors: Zhang W, Wang Y, Bougouffa S, Tian R, Cao H, Li Y, Cai L, Wong YH, Zhang G, Zhou G, Zhang X, Bajic VB, Al-Suwailem A, Qian PY
- Issue date: 2015 Oct
- A catalogue of 136 microbial draft genomes from Red Sea metagenomes.
- Authors: Haroon MF, Thompson LR, Parks DH, Hugenholtz P, Stingl U
- Issue date: 2016 Jul 5