In the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Science, researchers from the University of British Columbia and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) describe the metagenome of an abundant but uncultivated microbe, known as SUP05, that is silently helping to shape the ecology of [oxygen minimum zones] worldwide. Researchers studied the microbe in Saanich Inlet, a fjord on the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The fjord undergoes a seasonal cycle of stratification and deep water renewal, creating strong water column gradients that make it an ideal “living lab” to study microbial communities adapted and specialized to thrive under low oxygen conditions such as those found in [oxygen minimum zones]. To chart the SUP05 metagenome, genetic material was recovered directly from environmental samples encompassing the entire microbial community of Saanich Inlet during different stages of water column stratification and deep-water renewal.
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