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Data from: Habitat-associated phylogenetic community patterns of microbial ammonia oxidizers


Fernàndez-Guerra, Antoni; Casamayor, Emilio O. (2012), Data from: Habitat-associated phylogenetic community patterns of microbial ammonia oxidizers, Dryad, Dataset,


Microorganisms mediating ammonia oxidation play a fundamental role in the connection between biological nitrogen fixation and anaerobic nitrogen losses. Bacteria and Archaea ammonia oxidizers (AOB and AOA, respectively) have colonized similar habitats worldwide. Ammonia oxidation is the rate-limiting step in nitrification, and the ammonia monooxygenase (Amo) is the key enzyme involved. The molecular ecology of this process has been extensively explored by surveying the gene of the subunit A of the Amo (amoA gene). In the present study, we explored the phylogenetic community ecology of AOB and AOA, analyzing 5776 amoA gene sequences from >300 isolation sources, and clustering habitats by environmental ontologies. As a whole, phylogenetic richness was larger in AOA than in AOB, and sediments contained the highest phylogenetic richness whereas marine plankton the lowest. We also observed that freshwater ammonia oxidizers were phylogenetically richer than their marine counterparts. AOA communities were more dissimilar to each other than those of AOB, and consistent monophyletic lineages were observed for sediments, soils, and marine plankton in AOA but not in AOB. The diversification patterns showed a more constant cladogenesis through time for AOB whereas AOA apparently experienced two fast diversification events separated by a long steady-state episode. The diversification rate (γ statistic) for most of the habitats indicated γ_AOA > γ_AOB. Soil and sediment experienced earlier bursts of diversification whereas habitats usually eutrophic and rich in ammonium such as wastewater and sludge showed accelerated diversification rates towards the present. Overall, this work shows for the first time a global picture of the phylogenetic community structure of both AOB and AOA assemblages following the strictest analytical standards, and provides an ecological view on the differential evolutionary paths experienced by widespread ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms. The emerged picture of AOB and AOA distribution in different habitats provides a new view to understand the ecophysiology of ammonia oxidizers on Earth.

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