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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 370:87-95 (2008)  -  DOI:

Prokaryotic community dynamics in the sedimentary microenvironment of the demosponge Tentorium semisuberites from deep Arctic waters

Nadia V. Quéric1,3,*, Jesus M. Arrieta2, Thomas Soltwedel1, Wolf E. Arntz1

1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, New Technologies/Underwater Vehicles and Deep-sea Technology, Am Handelshafen 12, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
2Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA), Natural Resources Department, Miquel Marquès 21,
07190 Esporles, Mallorca, Illes Balears, Spain
3Present address: Department of Geosciences, Geobiology, University of Göttingen, Goldschmidtstrasse 3,
37077 Göttingen, Germany

ABSTRACT: The sedimentary microenvironment of a sessile epibenthic deep-sea species, the small demosponge Tentorium semisuberites, has been investigated to determine its effect on the distribution, physiology and community structure of benthic bacteria and archaea. The upper sediment layers (0 to 2 cm) in the immediate sponge vicinity were characterized by an increased bacterial colonisation with cell abundances on average 3 times higher than those in reference sediments. Similar results were obtained for bacterial secondary production, measured by simultaneous incorporation of the radioactive-labeled substrates 3H-thymidine and 14C-leucine. Our data show a high heterogeneity of deep-sea sediments with a pronounced patchy distribution of particulate organic carbon (POC), and a significant enrichment of POC in the sediments next to T. semisuberites. Cell-specific 3H-thymidine and 14C-leucine incorporation rates indicate that the quality rather than the quantity of POC around sponges may lead to the observed increase in cell abundances and protein synthesis. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis revealed that the sponges support a specific benthic bacterial and archaeal community with some unique OTUs (Operational Taxonomic Units), while other OTUs were entirely missing from its surrounding microenvironment. Our data indicate that the small demosponge T. semisuberites causes highly productive patches as hot spots of biochemical cycling, potentially increasing habitat heterogeneity in deep-sea sediments.

KEY WORDS: Biogenic structures · Benthic prokaryotic community · Small-scale heterogeneity · Deep-sea sediments · Demospongiae

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Cite this article as: Quéric NV, Arrieta JM, Soltwedel T, Arntz WE (2008) Prokaryotic community dynamics in the sedimentary microenvironment of the demosponge Tentorium semisuberites from deep Arctic waters. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 370:87-95.

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