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      Distribution of Protists in the Deep South China Sea Revealed by High-Throughput Sequencing

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          Protists (microbial eukaryotes) are indispensable members of the marine microbial food web. In recent years, organisms living in the deep sea (> 1000 m water depth) have increasingly become the focus of research; however, studies on protistan assemblages are relatively scarce compared with their prokaryotic counterparts. In the present study, high-throughput sequencing of the hypervariable V9 region of the 18S rRNA gene was used to explore the community composition of protists in bathypelagic waters of the South China Sea. Based on the analysis of the alpha and beta diversities of 14 samples, we discovered: 1) members belonging to Rhizaria, Alveolata, and Excavata were the dominant groups in terms of both relative sequence abundance and operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness in all samples, although their relative contributions differed among different samples; 2) cluster analysis showed that the distribution of protistan assemblages was related neither to the sampling location nor to the water depth, and other environmental factors might have caused the differences among the communities; 3) phototrophs, including members of the Bacillariophyta, Bolidophyceae, Dictyochophyceae, Prasinophyceae, and Prymnesiophyceae, were detected in all samples, which indicated their contributions to the downward transportation via the biological pump and the potential presence of phagotrophy of these phototrophic cells in the deep ocean.

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          Author and article information

          Journal of Ocean University of China
          Science Press and Springer (China )
          20 December 2019
          01 February 2020
          : 19
          : 1
          : 161-170
          1State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, Institute of Marine Microbes and Ecospheres, College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China
          2Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, SW7 5BD, UK
          Author notes
          *Corresponding author: XU Dapeng, E-mail: dapengxu@
          Copyright © Ocean University of China, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2020.

          The copyright to this article, including any graphic elements therein (e.g. illustrations, charts, moving images), is hereby assigned for good and valuable consideration to the editorial office of Journal of Ocean University of China, Science Press and Springer effective if and when the article is accepted for publication and to the extent assignable if assignability is restricted for by applicable law or regulations (e.g. for U.S. government or crown employees).

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