Marine biofilms constitute a bank of hidden microbial diversity and functional potential

W. Zhang, W. Ding, Y.-X. Li, C. Tam, S. Bougouffa, R. Wang, B. Pei, H. Chiang, P. Leung, Y. Lu, Jin Sun, He Fu, V. B Bajic, H. Liu, N.S. Webster, P.-Y. Qian
Nat Commun. 10(1):517, (2019)

Marine biofilms constitute a bank of hidden microbial diversity and functional potential

Keywords

Biofilms, Metagenomics, Microbial ecology, Water microbiology

Abstract

Recent big data analyses have illuminated marine microbial diversity from a global perspective, focusing on planktonic microorganisms. Here, we analyze 2.5 terabases of newly sequenced datasets and the Tara Oceans metagenomes to study the diversity of biofilm-forming marine microorganisms. We identify more than 7,300 biofilm-forming ‘species’ that are undetected in seawater analyses, increasing the known microbial diversity in the oceans by more than 20%, and provide evidence for differentiation across oceanic niches. Generation of a gene distribution profile reveals a functional core across the biofilms, comprised of genes from a variety of microbial phyla that may play roles in stress responses and microbe-microbe interactions. Analysis of 479 genomes reconstructed from the biofilm metagenomes reveals novel biosynthetic gene clusters and CRISPR-Cas systems. Our data highlight the previously underestimated ocean microbial diversity, and allow mining novel microbial lineages and gene resources.

Code

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08463-z

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