Biogeography of bacteriophages at four hydrothermal vent sites in the Antarctic based on gp23 sequence diversity
In this study, which was carried out within the ChEsSO consortium project (Chemosynthetically driven ecosystems south of the Polar Front), we sampled two hydrothermal vent sites on the East Scotia Ridge, Scotia Sea, one in the Kemp Caldera, South Sandwich Arc, and one in the Bransfield Strait, north-west of the Antarctic Peninsula, which exhibit strong differences in their chemical characteristics. We compared a subset of their bacteriophage population by Sanger- and 454-sequencing of g23, which codes for the major capsid protein of T4likeviruses.We found that the sites differ vastly in their bacteriophage diversity, which reflects the differences in the chemical conditions and therefore putatively the differences in microbial hosts living at these sites. Comparing phage diversity in the vent samples to other aquatic samples, the vent samples formed a distinct separate cluster, which also included the non-vent control samples that were taken several hundred meters above the vent chimneys. This indicates that the influence of the vents on the microbial population and therefore also the bacteriophage population extends much further than anticipated.
Authors: Millard, Andrew D., Pearce, David A., Zwirglmaier, Katrin