Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-12-2016

Publication Title

Scientific Reports

Keywords

Marine microbiology, Microbial ecology

ISSN

2045-2322

Volume

6

Issue/No.

19123

First Page

1

Last Page

8

Abstract

Certain marine bacteria found in the near-surface layer of the ocean are expected to play important roles in the production and decay of surface active materials; however, the details of these processes are still unclear. Here we provide evidence supporting connection between the presence of surfactant-associated bacteria in the near-surface layer of the ocean, slicks on the sea surface, and a distinctive feature in the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery of the sea surface. From DNA analyses of the in situ samples using pyrosequencing technology, we found the highest abundance of surfactant-associated bacterial taxa in the near-surface layer below the slick. Our study suggests that production of surfactants by marine bacteria takes place in the organic-rich areas of the water column. Produced surfactants can then be transported to the sea surface and form slicks when certain physical conditions are met. This finding has potential applications in monitoring organic materials in the water column using remote sensing techniques. Identifying a connection between marine bacteria and production of natural surfactants may provide a better understanding of the global picture of biophysical processes at the boundary between the ocean and atmosphere, air-sea exchange of greenhouse gases, and production of climate-active marine aerosols.

Comments

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

ORCID ID

0000-0001-6519-1547

ResearcherID

G-4080-2013

DOI

10.1038/srep19123

Peer Reviewed

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