Ships' ballast tanks have long been known as vectors for the introduction of organisms. We applied next-generation sequencing to detect dinoflagellates (mainly as cysts) in 32 ballast tank sediments collected during 2001-2003 from ships entering the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay and subsequently archived. Seventy-three dinoflagellates were fully identified to species level by this metagenomic approach and single-cell polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based sequencing, including 19 toxic species, 36 harmful algal bloom (HAB) forming species, 22 previously unreported as producing cysts, and 55 reported from ballast tank sediments for the first time (including 13 freshwater species), plus 545 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) not fully identified due to a lack of reference sequences, indicating tank sediments are repositories of many previously undocumented taxa. Analyses indicated great heterogeneity of species composition among samples from different sources. Light and scanning electron microscopy and single-cell PCR sequencing supported and confirmed results of the metagenomic approach. This study increases the number of fully identified dinoflagellate species from ballast tank sediments to 142 (> 50% increase). From the perspective of ballast water management, the high diversity and spatiotemporal heterogeneity of dinoflagellates in ballast tanks argues for continuing research and stringent adherence to procedures intended to prevent unintended introduction of non-indigenous toxic and HAB-forming species.
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Original Publication Citation
Shang, L., Hu, Z., Deng, Y., Liu, Y., Zhai, X., Chai, Z., . . . Tang, Y. Z. (2019). Metagenomic sequencing identifies highly diverse assemblages of dinoflagellate cysts in sediments from ships' ballast tanks. Microorganisms, 7(8), 250. doi:10.3390/microorganisms7080250
Shang, Lixia; Hu, Zhangxi; Deng, Yunyan; Liu, Yuyang; Zhai, Xinyu; Chai, Zhaoyang; Liu, Xiaohan; Zhan, Zifeng; Dobbs, Fred C.; and Tang, Ying Zhong, "Metagenomic Sequencing Identifies Highly Diverse Assemblages of Dinoflagellate Cysts in Sediments From Ships' Ballast Tanks" (2019). OES Faculty Publications. 363.