Pathways for Understanding Blue Carbon Microbiomes with Amplicon Sequencing

by Hurtado-McCormick V., Carlos. M. Duarte
Perspective Year: 2022 DOI:


Hurtado-McCormick, V.,  S. M. Trevathan-Tackett, J.L. Bowen, R.M. Connolly, C.M. Duarte, and P.I. Macreadie. 2022. Pathways for understanding blue carbon microbiomes with amplicon Sequencing. Microorganisms 10, 2121. microorganisms10112121


The capacity of Blue Carbon Ecosystems to act as carbon sinks is strongly influenced by the metabolism of soil-associated microbes, which ultimately determine how much carbon is accumulated or returned to the atmosphere. The rapid evolution of sequencing technologies has facilitated the generation of tremendous amounts of data on what taxa comprise belowground microbial assemblages, largely available as isolated datasets, offering an opportunity for synthesis research that informs progress on understanding Blue Carbon microbiomes. We identified questions that can be addressed with a synthesis approach, including the high variability across datasets, space, and time due to differing sampling techniques, ecosystem or vegetation specificity, and the relationship between microbiome community and edaphic properties, particularly soil carbon. To address these questions, we collated 34 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing datasets, including bulk soil or rhizosphere from seagrass, mangroves, and saltmarshes within publicly available repositories. We identified technical and theoretical challenges that precluded a synthesis of multiple studies with currently available data, and opportunities for addressing the knowledge gaps within Blue Carbon microbial ecology going forward. Here, we provide a standardisation toolbox that supports enacting tasks for the acquisition, management, and integration of Blue Carbon-associated sequencing data and metadata to potentially elucidate novel mechanisms behind Blue Carbon dynamics.