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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Background: Shipwrecks serve as a rich source for novel microbial populations that have largely remained undiscovered. Low temperatures, lack of sunlight, and the availability of substrates derived from the shipwreck’s hull and cargo may provide an environment in which microbes can develop unique metabolic adaptations.

Methods: To test our hypothesis that shipwrecks could influence the microbial population involved in denitrification when a consortium is grown in the laboratory, we collected samples proximate to two steel shipwrecks in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Then under laboratory conditions, we grew two independent denitrifying microbial consortia. Each consortium was grown by using the BART assay system and analyzed based on growth kinetics, ion chromatography and 16S amplicon sequencing.

Results: Both denitrifying consortia were different from each other based on varied growth profiles, rates of nitrate utilization and 16S amplicon sequencing.

Conclusions: Our observations conclude that the laboratory grown water column microbial consortia from deep-sea shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico are able to undergo aggressive denitrification.


Published by 'F1000Research' at 10.12688/f1000research.12713.3.

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