16S rRNA-based bacterial diversity in the organic-rich sediments underlying oxygen-deficient waters of the eastern Arabian Sea
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The eastern Arabian Sea has a unique and permanent oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) that extends along the western continental margin of India. The sediment below this region is rich in organic matter. This study describes the bacterial community structure and diversity in OMZ sediments of the eastern Arabian Sea (AS) through 16S rRNA clone library analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences demonstrated that phylum Proteobacteria (52%), followed by Planctomycetes (12.7%), Chloroflexi and an unidentified bacterial group (8.8% each) were represented in the library. Deltaproteobacteria was the dominant class (62.5%) in phylum Proteobacteria with clones falling in orders Syntrophobacterales and Desulfovibrionales. Few minor phylogenetic groups, corresponding to Spirochetes, Firmicutes, Acidobacteria and Verrucomicrobia were found. Unidentified candidate groups falling in OP11, OP8 and OP3 were represented by 0.9, 2.9 and 3.9%, respectively and two clusters of the cloned sequences in this study showed very low identity to known sequences. This is the first report that discusses the phylogenetic groups in the OMZ sediments of eastern Arabian Sea individually and compares it with available data from marine hypoxic locales and water mass. LIBSHUFF statistics revealed high richness of the bacterial community of the Arabian Sea OMZ (AS-OMZ) compared to the other regions.
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