Zhou Ying-Li

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  • Article
    Ecogenomics reveals viral communities across the Challenger Deep oceanic trench
    (Nature Research, 2022-10-04) Zhou, Ying-Li ; Mara, Paraskevi ; Vik, Dean ; Edgcomb, Virginia P ; Sullivan, Matthew B ; Wang, Yong
    Despite the environmental challenges and nutrient scarcity, the geographically isolated Challenger Deep in Mariana trench, is considered a dynamic hotspot of microbial activity. Hadal viruses are the least explored microorganisms in Challenger Deep, while their taxonomic and functional diversity and ecological impact on deep-sea biogeochemistry are poorly described. Here, we collect 13 sediment cores from slope and bottom-axis sites across the Challenger Deep (down to ~11 kilometers depth), and identify 1,628 previously undescribed viral operational taxonomic units at species level. Community-wide analyses reveals 1,299 viral genera and distinct viral diversity across the trench, which is significantly higher at the bottom-axis vs. slope sites of the trench. 77% of these viral genera have not been previously identified in soils, deep-sea sediments and other oceanic settings. Key prokaryotes involved in hadal carbon and nitrogen cycling are predicted to be potential hosts infected by these viruses. The detected putative auxiliary metabolic genes suggest that viruses at Challenger Deep could modulate the carbohydrate and sulfur metabolisms of their potential hosts, and stabilize host’s cell membranes under extreme hydrostatic pressures. Our results shed light on hadal viral metabolic capabilities, contribute to understanding deep sea ecology and on functional adaptions of hadal viruses for future research.
  • Article
    Microbiomes in the Challenger Deep slope and bottom-axis sediments
    (Nature Research, 2022-03-21) Zhou, Ying-Li ; Mara, Paraskevi ; Cui, Guo-Jie ; Edgcomb, Virginia P. ; Wang, Yong
    Hadal trenches are the deepest and most remote regions of the ocean. The 11-kilometer deep Challenger Deep is the least explored due to the technical challenges of sampling hadal depths. It receives organic matter and heavy metals from the overlying water column that accumulate differently across its V-shaped topography. Here, we collected sediments across the slope and bottom-axis of the Challenger Deep that enable insights into its in situ microbial communities. Analyses of 586 metagenome-assembled genomes retrieved from 37 metagenomes show distinct diversity and metabolic capacities between bottom-axis and slope sites. 26% of prokaryotic 16S rDNA reads in metagenomes were novel, with novelty increasing with water and sediment depths. These predominantly heterotrophic microbes can recycle macromolecules and utilize simple and complex hydrocarbons as carbon sources. Metagenome and metatranscriptome data support reduction and biotransformation of arsenate for energy gain in sediments that present a two-fold greater accumulation of arsenic compared to non-hadal sites. Complete pathways for anaerobic ammonia oxidation are predominantly identified in genomes recovered from bottom-axis sediments compared to slope sites. Our results expand knowledge of microbially-mediated elemental cycling in hadal sediments, and reveal differences in distribution of processes involved in nitrogen loss across the trench.