Data_Sheet_1_A Shallow Water Ferrous-Hulled Shipwreck Reveals a Distinct Microbial Community.PDF (514.25 kB)

Data_Sheet_1_A Shallow Water Ferrous-Hulled Shipwreck Reveals a Distinct Microbial Community.PDF

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posted on 19.08.2020, 05:22 by Kyra A. Price, Cody E. Garrison, Nathan Richards, Erin K. Field

Shipwrecks act as artificial reefs and provide a solid surface in aquatic systems for many different forms of life to attach to, especially microbial communities, making them a hotspot of biogeochemical cycling. Depending on the microbial community and surrounding environment, they may either contribute to the wreck’s preservation or deterioration. Even within a single wreck, preservation and deterioration processes may vary, suggesting that the microbial community may also vary. This study aimed to identify the differences through widespread sampling of the microbial communities associated with the Pappy Lane shipwreck (NC shipwreck site #PAS0001), a shallow water ferrous-hulled shipwreck in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina to determine if there are differences across the wreck as well as from its surrounding environment. Loose shipwreck debris, drilled shipcores, surrounding sediment, and seawater samples were collected from the Pappy Lane shipwreck to characterize the microbial communities on and around the shipwreck. Results indicated that the shipwreck samples were more similar to each other than the surrounding sediment and aquatic environments suggesting they have made a specialized niche associated with the shipwreck. There were differences between the microbial community across the shipwreck, including between visibly corroded and non-corroded shipwreck debris pieces. Relative abundance estimates for neutrophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB), an organism that may contribute to deterioration through biocorrosion, revealed they are present across the shipwreck and at highest abundance on the samples containing visible corrosion products. Zetaproteobacteria, a known class of marine iron-oxidizers, were also found in higher abundance on shipwreck samples with visible corrosion. A novel Zetaproteobacteria strain, Mariprofundus ferrooxydans O1, was isolated from one of the shipwreck pieces and its genome analyzed to elucidate the functional potential of the organism. In addition to iron oxidation pathways, the isolate has the genomic potential to perform carbon fixation in both high and low oxygen environments, as well as perform nitrogen fixation, contributing to the overall biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and metals in the shipwreck ecosystem. By understanding the microbial communities associated with shallow water ferrous-hulled shipwrecks, better management strategies and preservation plans can be put into place to preserve these artificial reefs and non-renewable cultural resources.