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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 366:1-14 (2008)  -  DOI:

Immigration of prokaryotes to local environments enhances remineralization efficiency of sinking particles: a metacommunity model

Takeshi Miki1,4,*, Taichi Yokokawa2, Toshi Nagata1,5, Norio Yamamura3

1Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Hirano 2-509-3, Otsu, Shiga 5202113, Japan
2Department of Biological Oceanography, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands
3Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, 457-4 Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan
4Present address: Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 10617, Taiwan
5Present address: Marine Biogeochemistry Group, Department of Chemical Oceanography, Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minami-dai, Nakano, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan

ABSTRACT: Processing of organic matter by heterotrophic prokaryotes regulates carbon sequestration in the ocean, and thus influences the global climate. Recent studies have begun to elucidate the remarkable diversity of oceanic prokaryotes with estimates of >1000 species or phylotypes in a single local habitat and up to 2 million in the global ocean. However, how this prokaryotic diversity and spatial heterogeneity in their compositions contribute to regional variations in major biogeochemical fluxes driven by heterotrophic prokaryotes is still unclear. A new theoretical model integrating the metacommunity concept with oceanic biogeochemistry demonstrates that increased production of particulate organic carbon (POC) leads to increased efficiency of remineralization of POC in the surface ocean, affecting the carbon export to deep waters. This is attributed to flexible shifts in the local prokaryotic community composition in response to changes in primary production, which is facilitated by the high degree of diversity in the metacommunity and moderate immigration rates of prokaryotes into the local community. By linking the spatial heterogeneity of microbial communities to their transient dynamics, a metacommunity concept will improve our understanding of the regional variability of biogeochemical processes in the oceans.

KEY WORDS: Theoretical model · Biological pump · Carbon cycle · Biodiversity · Bacteria · Metacommunity

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Cite this article as: Miki T, Yokokawa T, Nagata T, Yamamura N (2008) Immigration of prokaryotes to local environments enhances remineralization efficiency of sinking particles: a metacommunity model. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 366:1-14.

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