Diversity and distribution of diazotrophic communities in the South China Sea deep basin with mesoscale cyclonic eddy perturbations
- 海洋环境－已发表论文 
The South China Sea (SCS) is an oligotrophic subtropical marginal ocean with a deep basin and a permanently stratified central gyre. Upwelling and nitrogen fixation provide new nitrogen for primary production in the SCS. This study was aimed at an investigation of phylogenetic diversity and quantification of the diazotroph community in the SCS deep basin, which is characterized by frequent mesoscale eddies. The diazotroph community had a relatively low diversity but a distinct spatial heterogeneity of diversity in the SCS deep basin. The potential for nitrogen fixation consistently occurred during cyclonic eddies, although upwelling of nutrient-replete deep water might have alleviated nitrogen limitation in the SCS. However, diazotrophic proteobacteria were dominant, but neither Trichodesmium nor heterocystous cyanobacterial diatom symbionts. Quantitative PCR analysis using probe-primer sets developed in this study revealed that the nif H gene of the two dominant alpha- and gammaproteobacterial groups was at the highest abundance (up to 104 to 105 copies L-1). Trichodesmium thiebautii was detected with an average density of 102 trichomes L-1 in the euphotic waters, while Richelia intracellularis was observed sporadically under the microscope. The unicellular cyanobacterial groups A and B were not detected in our libraries. Our results suggested that diazotrophic proteobacteria were significant components potentially contributing to nitrogen fixation in this oligotrophic marginal ocean ecosystem.