Deep-sea wood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Far from the most common energy supply, the sun, and from many nutrient supplies closely tied to the surface, the deep sea is still home to a unique ecosystem. Deep-sea wood is the term for wood which sinks to the ocean floor. All organisms of the ocean floor face unique challenges in synthesizing ATP/GTP needed for cellular function and replication. In this case, deep-sea wood supports a unique form of deep sea community life including chemo-synthetic bacteria. Sources of carbon for these organisms are not limited to wood, but also include kelp and the remains of whales. As it is difficult and very costly to simply discover logs that have fallen to the ocean floor, much of what is known about deep-sea wood is obtained from experiments by marine biologists, in which wood is forced to the bottom of the ocean for a set amount of time and is then collected later for sampling.

Organisms present[edit]

Wood boring bivalves[edit]

Colonization experiments revealed the presence of wood boring bivalves that belong to the subfamily Xylophagainae, such as Xylophaga dorsalis,[1] or other species recently described from deep-sea canyons.[2] They range in shell size from 1-10mm. These bivalves are able to digest wood with the help of symbiotic bacteria in their gills.

Chemosyntheic fauna[edit]

Chemosyntheic muscles identified as Idas modiolaeformis were also found in deep sea wood when organic matter settled for at least one year. They are slightly smaller than the bivalves found and range in length from 1-6mm.

Other organisms[edit]

A variety of deep-sea crabs and sea urchins seemed to also be chemically attracted to the wood. There are numerous species of snail that have been discovered on the wood, along with predatory worms and small crustaceans. Their attraction to the wood may be attributed to its bacterial inhabitants serving as a base organism for deep-sea life, with the potential to feed on microorganisms, or other inhabitants of the wood.

Fungal communities[edit]

Fungi are the major degraders of lignocellulose in aquatic environments.[3] In aerobic terrestrial environments, a majority of cellulose breakdown is broken down by wood-decay fungi[4] commonly and collectively known as white rot and soft rot. Complex enzymes are secreted by the various fungi, converting cellulose into a carbon form that can be utilized by the fungus, and subsequently any organism up the food chain.

Bacterial communities[edit]

Bacteria also contribute to the digestion of deep-sea wood, using an alternative method from that of fungi.[5][6] In order to classify bacteria present on deep-sea wood, a variety of different techniques are employed. First, biomass allows scientists to quantify the amount of bacterial growth on a sample. Then DNA extraction and Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer analysis (ARISA) can be used to identify the strains of bacteria present that are most dominant, and the ones that are present.

While Gammaproteobacteria dominated the composition of bacteria found on freshly submerged wood, many other bacterial strains populated in response to colonization of the aforementioned wood-boring Xylophaga, which take the large chunks of wood and convert them into fine chips and fecal matter. These processed forms of carbon lead to the growth of many other marine bacteria including Alphaproteobacteria, Flavobacteria, Actinobacteria, Clostridia, and Bacteroidetes.[7]

Wood degradation[edit]

Presence of anaerobes[edit]

The presence of Clostridia, obligate anaerobes suggests that the process of degrading the deep-sea wood may create oxygen-free environments for these bacteria to survive in.[8]

Sulfur reducing bacteria[edit]

Many bacterial strains that were found on deep-sea wood were sulfur-reducing bacteria, meaning they obtain energy from reducing elemental sulfur, instead of traditionally using the sun for energy like almost all other organisms. Marine biologists suggest they may contribute to the break down of cellulose from the wood.[9]

Variability of organisms[edit]

Interestingly, the species of wood that falls to the ocean floor produces variability in the organisms present on it. There is also natural viability between organisms found on the same species of tree, which promotes to deep-sea diversity. If fact, a study by marine biologists showed bacterial communities were approximately 75% dissimilar, even as similar logs of the same tree species were placed within the same 500m2 area.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bienhold, Christina; Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Dittmar, Thorsten & Boetius, Antje.(2 January 2013). How Deep-Sea Wood Falls Sustain Chemosynthetic Life, PLoS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053590. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  2. ^ Romano, Chiara; Voight, Janet Ruth; Perez-Portela, Rocio; Martin, Daniel (2014). "Morphological and Genetic Diversity of the Wood-Boring Xylophaga (Mollusca, Bivalvia): New Species and Records from Deep-Sea Iberian Canyons". PLoS ONE. 9. 
  3. ^ Hyde, K.D.; Jones, E. B. G.; Leano, E.; Pointing, S.B.; Poonyth, A.D.; Vrijmoed, L.L.P. (1998). "Role of fungi in marine ecosystems." (PDF). Biodiversity and Conservation. 7: 1147–1161. 
  4. ^ Baldrian P, Valásková V. Degradation of cellulose by basidiomycetous fungi FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2008 May;32(3):501-21. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6976.2008.00106.x. Epub 2008 Mar 26.
  5. ^ Leschine SB (1995) Cellulose degradation in anaerobic environments. Annu Rev Microbiol 49: 399–426. doi:10.1146/annurev.mi.49.100195.002151
  6. ^ Lynd LR, Weimer PJ, van Zyl WH, Pretorius IS (2002) Microbial cellulose utilization: Fundamentals and biotechnology (vol 66, pg 506, 2002). Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 66: 739–739. doi:10.1128/mmbr.66.4.739.2002
  7. ^ Bienhold, Christina; Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Dittmar, Thorsten & Boetius, Antje.(2 January 2013). How Deep-Sea Wood Falls Sustain Chemosynthetic Life, PLoS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053590. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  8. ^ Bienhold, Christina; Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Dittmar, Thorsten & Boetius, Antje.(2 January 2013). How Deep-Sea Wood Falls Sustain Chemosynthetic Life, PLoS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053590. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  9. ^ Bienhold, Christina; Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Dittmar, Thorsten & Boetius, Antje.(2 January 2013). How Deep-Sea Wood Falls Sustain Chemosynthetic Life, PLoS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053590. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  10. ^ Craig McClain, James Barry Beta-diversity on deep-sea wood falls reflects gradients in energy availability doi:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0129Published 9 April 2014.