Biogeographic patterns in populations of marine Pseudoalteromonas atlantica isolates

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Department of Biological Sciences


Intra-specific genomic diversity is well documented in microbes. The question, however, remains whether natural selection or neutral evolution is the major contributor to this diversity. We undertook this study to estimate genomic diversity in Pseudoalteromonas atlantica populations and whether the diversity, if present, could be attributed to environmental factors or distance effects. We isolated and sequenced twenty-three strains of P. atlantica from three geographically distant deep marine basins and performed comparative genomic analyses to study the genomic diversity of populations among these basins. Average nucleotide identity followed a strictly geographical pattern. In two out of three locations, the strains within the location exhibited > 99.5 % identity, whereas, among locations, the strains showed < 98.11 % identity. Phylogenetic and pan-genome analysis also reflected the biogeographical separation of the strains. Strains from the same location shared many accessory genes and clustered closely on the phylogenetic tree. Phenotypic diversity between populations was studied in ten out of twenty-three strains testing carbon and nitrogen source utilization and osmotolerance. A genetic basis for phenotypic diversity could be established in most cases but was apparently not influenced by local environmental conditions. Our study suggests that neutral evolution may have a substantial role in the biodiversity of P. atlantica.

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FEMS microbiology letters