In order to identify bacteria that assimilate dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the northeast Pacific Ocean, stable isotope probing (SIP) experiments were conducted on water collected from 3 different sites off the Oregon and Washington coasts in May 2010, and one site off the Oregon Coast in September 2008 and March 2009. Samples were incubated in the dark with 2 mM 13C-NaHCO3, doubling the average concentration of DIC typically found in the ocean. Our results revealed a surprising diversity of marine bacteria actively assimilating DIC in the dark within the Pacific Northwest coastal waters, indicating that DIC fixation is relevant for the metabolism of different marine bacterial lineages, including putatively heterotrophic taxa. Furthermore, dark DIC-assimilating assemblages were widespread among diverse bacterial classes. Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes dominated the active DIC-assimilating communities across the samples. Actinobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Planctomycetes, and Verrucomicrobia were also implicated in DIC assimilation. Alteromonadales and Oceanospirillales contributed significantly to the DIC-assimilating Gammaproteobacteria within May 2010 clone libraries. 16S rRNA gene sequences related to the sulfur-oxidizing symbionts Arctic96BD-19 were observed in all active DIC assimilating clone libraries. Among the Alphaproteobacteria, clones related to the ubiquitous SAR11 clade were found actively assimilating DIC in all samples. Although not a dominant contributor to our active clone libraries, Betaproteobacteria, when identified, were predominantly comprised of Burkholderia. DIC-assimilating bacteria among Deltaproteobacteria included members of the SAR324 cluster. Our research suggests that DIC assimilation is ubiquitous among many bacterial groups in the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest marine environment and may represent a significant metabolic process.
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