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Microbial dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) cycling in the ultraoligotrophic eastern Indian Ocean

O'Brien, J., Focardi, A., Deschaseaux, E.S.M., Petrou, K., Ostrowski, M., Beckley, L.E. and Seymour, J.R. (2022) Microbial dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) cycling in the ultraoligotrophic eastern Indian Ocean. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 206 . Art. 105195.

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Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important source of dissolved organic matter for the marine food web and its cycling is a key step in ocean-atmosphere fluxes involved in the global sulfur cycle. To date, the abundance and biogeography of the genes encoding bacterial DMSP cycling in the eastern Indian Ocean (EIO) is virtually unknown. Moreover, DMSP measurements from the IO are sparse compared to other major oceans. In May–June 2019, we characterized dissolved DMSP (DMSPd) concentrations and the abundance of representative bacterial DMSP cycling genes along the 110 °E transect line as part of a voyage that contributed to Australia's involvement in the second International Indian Ocean Expedition. During the multidisciplinary voyage, surface water samples were collected from 19 stations spanning temperate to tropical waters of the EIO (39.5 °S to 11.5 °S, 110 °E). Somewhat surprisingly, a trend of greater DMSPd was measured in ultraoligotrophic (<0.02 μmol L−1 of nitrate/nitrite), low latitude waters compared to relatively nutrient-rich high latitudes, which contradicts global DMSPd patterns of high concentrations at high latitudes. Additionally, the average DMSPd concentration in EIO samples (17.2 ± 18.64 nM) was an order of magnitude greater than concentrations previously reported at similar latitudes in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which suggests DMSPd is a readily available food source for microbes in a region that is often considered an ocean desert. The abundances of the bacterial DMSP production gene (dsyB), the DMSP lyase gene (dddP) and phylogenetically diverse DMSP demethylation genes (dmdA subclade A/1, D/all and E/2) were reported for the first time in the EIO region, demonstrating significant shifts in all genes with latitude. The SAR11 dmdA (D/all) gene was the dominant DMSP degradation gene across the transect (3.4 ± 0.94% of bacteria) and was notably positively correlated to DMSPd, demonstrating a tight coupling between the variables across the 30° transect. Our results also showed greater DMSPd and relative abundance of genes encoding both DMSP degradation pathways (dddP, dmdA A/1 and D/all) within a Leeuwin Current meander when compared to adjacent stations outside of the meander, providing evidence that mesoscale perturbations from the Leeuwin Current can greatly influence the EIO sulfur cycle. Overall, our data indicates that reduced sulfur in the form of DMSP is an abundant and readily available food source for some microbial metabolisms within the ultraoligotrophic surface waters of the EIO.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd.
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