Thomas Vannier, Jade Leconte, Yoann Seeleuthner, Samuel Mondy, Eric Pelletier, Jean-Marc Aury, Colomban de Vargas, Michael Sieracki, Daniele Iudicone, Daniel Vaulot, Patrick Wincker and Olivier Jaillon
Published online: 30 November 2016
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 37900 (2016)
Bathycoccus is a cosmopolitan green micro-alga belonging to the Mamiellophyceae, a class of picophytoplankton that contains important contributors to oceanic primary production. A single species of Bathycoccus has been described while the existence of two ecotypes has been proposed based on metagenomic data. A genome is available for one strain corresponding to the described phenotype. We report a second genome assembly obtained by a single cell genomics approach corresponding to the second ecotype. The two Bathycoccus genomes are divergent enough to be unambiguously distinguishable in whole DNA metagenomic data although they possess identical sequence of the 18S rRNA gene including in the V9 region. Analysis of 122 global ocean whole DNA metagenome samples from the Tara-Oceans expedition reveals that populations of Bathycoccus that were previously identified by 18S rRNA V9 metabarcodes are only composed of these two genomes. Bathycoccus is relatively abundant and widely distributed in nutrient rich waters. The two genomes rarely co-occur and occupy distinct oceanic niches in particular with respect to depth. Metatranscriptomic data provide evidence for gain or loss of highly expressed genes in some samples, suggesting that the gene repertoire is modulated by environmental conditions.