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Linking regional variation of epibiotic bacterial diversity and trophic ecology in a new species of Kiwaidae (Decapoda, Anomura) from East Scotia Ridge (Antarctica) hydrothermal vents

Lookup NU author(s): Dr William Reid, Christopher Sweeting, Dr Benjamin Wigham, Professor Nick Polunin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


We analyzed the diversity of bacterial epibionts and trophic ecology of a new species of Kiwa yeti crab discovered at two hydrothermal vent fields (E2 and E9) on the East Scotia Ridge (ESR) in the Southern Ocean using a combination of 454 pyrosequencing, Sanger sequencing, and stable isotope analysis. The Kiwa epibiont communities were dominated by Epsilon- and Gammaproteobacteria. About 454 sequencing of the epibionts on 15 individual Kiwa specimen revealed large regional differences between the two hydrothermal vent fields: at E2, the bacterial community on the Kiwa ventral setae was dominated (up to 75%) by Gammaproteobacteria, whereas at E9 Epsilonproteobacteria dominated (up to 98%). Carbon stable isotope analysis of both Kiwa and the bacterial epibionts also showed distinct differences between E2 and E9 in mean and variability. Both stable isotope and sequence data suggest a dominance of different carbon fixation pathways of the epibiont communities at the two vent fields. At E2, epibionts were putatively fixing carbon via the Calvin-Benson-Bassham and reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle, while at E9 the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle dominated. Co-varying epibiont diversity and isotope values at E2 and E9 also present further support for the hypothesis that epibionts serve as a food source for Kiwa.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zwirglmaier Z, Reid WDK, Heywood J, Sweeting CJ, Wigham BD, Polunin NVC, Hawkes JA, Connelly DP, Pearce D, Linse K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: MicrobiologyOpen

Year: 2015

Volume: 4

Issue: 1

Pages: 136-150

Print publication date: 01/02/2015

Online publication date: 16/12/2014

Acceptance date: 27/10/2014

Date deposited: 26/02/2015

ISSN (electronic): 2045-8827


DOI: 10.1002/mbo3.227


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Funder referenceFunder name
NE/D01249x/1NERC through the ChEsSO - Chemosynthetically driven ecosystems south of the Polar Front: Biogeography and Ecology Consortium grant