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Vertically distinct microbial communities in the Mariana and Kermadec trenches

Impact:
Hadal microbial communities have been proposed to contain distinct taxa adapted to the unique in situ conditions found in trenches. Here, we show that hadal communities within the Kermadec and Mariana trenches are indeed distinct from the abyssal assemblages above them. Hadal communities are enriched in certain taxa that may represent bathytypes, including clades such as the Marinimicrobia and specific genera such as Aquibacter. Sequences related to known piezophiles were identified in both trenches, albeit in higher abundances in the Kermadec Trench, but at <1% of total communities. These findings suggest similar hadal-associated taxa are present in multiple trenches, potentially transported by deep-ocean currents. Such lineages may be responsible for the higher rates of activity under in situ rather than atmospheric pressures determined here. Communities were also distinct between the Mariana and Kermadec trenches, showing varying abundances of cosmopolitan taxa and the presence of unique but rare OTUs. Inter-trench variation was largely driven by differentially abundant heterotrophic Gammaproteobacteria that show a remarkable ability to survive long-term pressurization and may be from bathyal and shallower depths where they colonize particles and sink. Trenches are therefore home to unique microbial communities, comprised of autochthonous, pressure-adapted members and ubiquitous genera found throughout the water column.

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