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Contrasting community composition of endospores and vegetative Firmicutes in a marine sediment suggests both endogenous and exogenous sources of endospore accumulation

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Bacterial endospores are highly abundant in marine sediments, but their taxonomic identity and ecology is largely unknown. We selectively extracted DNA from endospores and vegetative cells and sequenced 16S rRNA genes to characterize the composition of the endospore and vegetative Firmicutes communities in the sediment and water column of Aarhus Bay (Denmark). The endospore community in the sediment was dominated by the families Bacillaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Clostridiaceae and Ruminoccocaceae. These families were also represented in the vegetative community in the sediment and the endospore community in the water column. OTUs of high relative abundance in the endospore community were also represented in the vegetative Firmicutes community. Other OTUs were exclusively found in the endospore communities. This suggests that endospores accumulate in marine sediments due to passive deposition from the water column and sporulation of vegetative cells in the sediment. Some OTUs were detected in the endospore community of the water column and the vegetative community the sediment indicating that endospores deposited from the water column may germinate upon burial/deposition in the sediment. We provide novel insight into the composition of endospore communities in marine sediments and highlight their role in microbial dispersal and as a seed bank in subsurface sediments. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

TidsskriftEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Sider (fra-til)352-360
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2019

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