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Benthic protists: the under-charted majority

Dominik Forster 1 Micah Dunthorn 1 Fréderic Mahé 1 John R. Dolan 2 Stéphane Audic 3 David Bass 4, 5 Lucie Bittner 6, 1, 3 Christophe Boutte 3 Richard Christen 7 Jean-Michel Claverie 8 Johan Decelle 3 Bente Edvardsen 9 Elianne Egge 9 Wenche Eikrem 9 Angélique Gobet 10, 3 Wiebe H.C.F. Kooistra 11 Ramiro Logares 12 Ramon Massana 12 Marina Montresor 11 Fabrice Not 13 Hiroyuki Ogata 14, 2 Jan Pawlowski 15 Massimo C. Pernice 12 Sarah Romac 3 Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi 9 Nathalie Simon 13 Thomas A. Richards 16 Sébastien Santini 8 Diana Sarno 11 Raffaele Siano 17 Daniel Vaulot 13 Patrick Wincker 18 Adriana Zingone 11 Colomban de Vargas 3 Thorsten Stoeck 1, *
Abstract : Marine protist diversity inventories have largely focused on planktonic environments, while benthic protists have received relatively little attention. We therefore hypothesize that current diversity surveys have only skimmed the surface of protist diversity in marine sediments, which may harbor greater diversity than planktonic environments. We tested this by analyzing sequences of the hypervariable V4 18S rRNA from benthic and planktonic protist communities sampled in European coastal regions. Despite a similar number of OTUs in both realms, richness estimations indicated that we recovered at least 70% of the diversity in planktonic protist communities, but only 33% in benthic communities. There was also little overlap of OTUs between planktonic and benthic communities, as well as between separate benthic communities. We argue that these patterns reflect the heterogeneity and diversity of benthic habitats. A comparison of all OTUs against the Protist Ribosomal Reference database showed that a higher proportion of benthic than planktonic protist diversity is missing from public databases; similar results were obtained by comparing all OTUs against environmental references from NCBI's Short Read Archive. We suggest that the benthic realm may therefore be the world's largest reservoir of marine protist diversity, with most taxa at present undescribed.
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Dominik Forster, Micah Dunthorn, Fréderic Mahé, John R. Dolan, Stéphane Audic, et al.. Benthic protists: the under-charted majority. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, 92 (8), pp.fiw120. ⟨10.1093/femsec/fiw120⟩. ⟨hal-01383722⟩

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