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Biogeography of the uncultured marine picoeukaryote MAST-4: temperature-driven distribution patterns

May 7, 2013

The MAST-4 (marine stramenopile group 4) is a widespread uncultured picoeukaryote that makes up an important fraction of marine heterotrophic flagellates. This group has low genetic divergence and is composed of a small number of putative species. We combined ARISA (automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis) and ITS (Internal Transcribed Spacer) clone libraries to study the biogeography of this marine protist, examining both spatial and temporal trends in MAST-4 assemblages and associated environmental factors. The most represented MAST-4 clades appeared adapted to different temperature ranges, and their distributions did not suggest clear geographical barriers for dispersal. Distant samples sharing the same temperature had very similar assemblages, especially in cold temperatures, where only one clade, E1, dominated. The most highly represented clades, A and E1, showed very little differentiation between populations from distant geographical regions. Within a single site, temporal variation also followed patterns governed by temperature. Our results contribute to the general discussion on microbial biogeography by showing strong environmental selection for some picoeukaryotes in the marine environment.

Rodríguez-Martínez R, Rocap G, Salazar G, Massana R, in press. Biogeography of the uncultured marine picoeukaryote MAST-4: temperature-driven distribution patterns, The ISME Journal , 2013,| doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.53. Article (subscription required).

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