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Nature Research, Nature

DOI: 10.1038/nature16942



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Plankton networks driving carbon export in the oligotrophic ocean

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This paper is available in a repository.

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Guidi, Lionel . et. al.-- 16 pages, 4 figures, supplementary information .-- This article is contribution number 34 of Tara Oceans ; The biological carbon pump is the process by which CO 2 is transformed to organic carbon via photosynthesis, exported through sinking particles, and finally sequestered in the deep ocean. While the intensity of the pump correlates with plankton community composition, the underlying ecosystem structure driving the process remains largely uncharacterized. Here we use environmental and metagenomic data gathered during the Tara Oceans expedition to improve our understanding of carbon export in the oligotrophic ocean. We show that specific plankton communities, from the surface and deep chlorophyll maximum, correlate with carbon export at 150 m and highlight unexpected taxa such as Radiolaria and alveolate parasites, as well as Synechococcus and their phages, as lineages most strongly associated with carbon export in the subtropical, nutrient-depleted, oligotrophic ocean. Additionally, we show that the relative abundance of a few bacterial and viral genes can predict a significant fraction of the variability in carbon export in these regions ; We thank the commitment of the following people and sponsors: CNRS (in particular Groupement de Recherche GDR3280), European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Genoscope/CEA, VIB, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, UNIMIB, Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders, Rega Institute, KU Leuven, The French Ministry of Research, the French Government ‘Investissements d’Avenir’ programmes OCEANOMICS (ANR-11-BTBR-0008), FRANCE GENOMIQUE (ANR-10-INBS-09-08), MEMO LIFE (ANR-10-LABX-54), PSL* Research University (ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02), ANR (projects POSEIDON/ANR-09-BLAN-0348, PHYTBACK/ANR-2010-1709-01, PROMETHEUS/ANR-09-PCS-GENM-217, TARA-GIRUS/ANR-09-PCS-GENM-218, SAMOSA, ANR-13-ADAP-0010), European Union FP7 (MicroB3/No.287589, ERC Advanced Grant Award to C.B. (Diatomite: 294823), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grant (#3790 and #2631) and the UA Technology and Research Initiative Fund and the Water, Environmental, and Energy Solutions Initiative to M.B.S., the Italian Flagship Program RITMARE to D.I., the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation grant CGL2011-26848/BOS MicroOcean PANGENOMICS to S.G.A., TANIT (CONES 2010-0036) from the Agència de Gestió d'Ajusts Universitaris i Reserca to S.G.A., JSPS KAKENHI grant number 26430184 to H.O., and FWO, BIO5, Biosphere 2 to M.B.S. We also thank the support and commitment of Agnès b. and Etienne Bourgois, the Veolia Environment Foundation, Region Bretagne, Lorient Agglomeration, World Courier, Illumina, the EDF Foundation, FRB, the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation, the Tara schooner and its captains and crew. We thank MERCATOR-CORIOLIS and ACRI-ST for providing daily satellite data during the expedition. We are also grateful to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for supporting the expedition and to the countries who graciously granted sampling permissions ; Peer Reviewed