Biodiversity and emerging biogeography of the neutrophilic iron-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria

Sean M. McAllister, Richard E. Davis, Joyce M. McBeth, Bradley M. Tebo, David Emerson, Craig L. Moyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Members of the neutrophilic iron-oxidizing candidate class Zetaproteobacteria have predominantly been found at sites of microbially mediated iron oxidation in marine environments around the Pacific Ocean. Eighty-four full-length (>1,400-bp) and 48 partial-length Zetaproteobacteria small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene sequences from five novel clone libraries, one novel Zetaproteobacteria isolate, and the GenBank database were analyzed to assess the biodiversity of this burgeoning class of the Proteobacteria and to investigate its biogeography between three major sampling regions in the Pacific Ocean: Loihi Seamount, the Southern Mariana Trough, and the Tonga Arc. Sequences were grouped into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) on the basis of a 97% minimum similarity. Of the 28 OTUs detected, 13 were found to be endemic to one of the three main sampling regions and 2 were ubiquitous throughout the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, two deeply rooted OTUs that potentially dominate communities of iron oxidizers originating in the deep subsurface were identified. Spatial autocorrelation analysis and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that geographic distance played a significant role in the distribution of Zetaproteobacteria biodiversity, whereas environmental parameters, such as temperature, pH, or total Fe concentration, did not have a significant effect. These results, detected using the coarse resolution of the SSU rRNA gene, indicate that the Zetaproteobacteria have a strong biogeographic signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5445-5457
Number of pages13
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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