The native bacterioplankton community in the central baltic sea is influenced by freshwater bacterial species.
ABSTRACT: The Baltic Sea is one of the largest brackish environments on Earth. Despite extensive knowledge about food web interactions and pelagic ecosystem functioning, information about the bacterial community composition in the Baltic Sea is scarce. We hypothesized that due to the eutrophic low-salinity environment and the long water residence time (>5 years), the bacterioplankton community from the Baltic proper shows a native "brackish" composition influenced by both freshwater and marine phylotypes. The bacterial community composition in surface water (3-m depth) was examined at a single station throughout a full year. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) showed that the community composition changed over the year. Further, it indicated that at the four extensive samplings (16S rRNA gene clone libraries and bacterial isolates from low- and high-nutrient agar plates and seawater cultures), different bacterial assemblages associated with different environmental conditions were present. Overall, the sequencing of 26 DGGE bands, 160 clones, 209 plate isolates, and 9 dilution culture isolates showed that the bacterial assemblage in surface waters of the central Baltic Sea was dominated by Bacteroidetes but exhibited a pronounced influence of typical freshwater phylogenetic groups within Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Betaproteobacteria and a lack of typical marine taxa. This first comprehensive analysis of bacterial community composition in the central Baltic Sea points to the existence of an autochthonous estuarine community uniquely adapted to the environmental conditions prevailing in this brackish environment.
Project description:Salinity is a major factor controlling the distribution of biota in aquatic systems, and most aquatic multicellular organisms are either adapted to life in saltwater or freshwater conditions. Consequently, the saltwater-freshwater mixing zones in coastal or estuarine areas are characterized by limited faunal and floral diversity. Although changes in diversity and decline in species richness in brackish waters is well documented in aquatic ecology, it is unknown to what extent this applies to bacterial communities. Here, we report a first detailed bacterial inventory from vertical profiles of 60 sampling stations distributed along the salinity gradient of the Baltic Sea, one of world's largest brackish water environments, generated using 454 pyrosequencing of partial (400?bp) 16S rRNA genes. Within the salinity gradient, bacterial community composition altered at broad and finer-scale phylogenetic levels. Analogous to faunal communities within brackish conditions, we identified a bacterial brackish water community comprising a diverse combination of freshwater and marine groups, along with populations unique to this environment. As water residence times in the Baltic Sea exceed 3 years, the observed bacterial community cannot be the result of mixing of fresh water and saltwater, but our study represents the first detailed description of an autochthonous brackish microbiome. In contrast to the decline in the diversity of multicellular organisms, reduced bacterial diversity at brackish conditions could not be established. It is possible that the rapid adaptation rate of bacteria has enabled a variety of lineages to fill what for higher organisms remains a challenging and relatively unoccupied ecological niche.
Project description:Understanding the key processes that control bacterial community composition has enabled predictions of bacterial distribution and function within ecosystems. In this study, we used the Baltic Sea as a model system to quantify the phylogenetic signal of salinity and season with respect to bacterioplankton community composition. The abundances of 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing reads were analyzed from samples obtained from similar geographic locations in July and February along a brackish to marine salinity gradient in the Baltic Sea. While there was no distinct pattern of bacterial richness at different salinities, the number of bacterial phylotypes in winter was significantly higher than in summer. Bacterial community composition in brackish vs. marine conditions, and in July vs. February was significantly different. Non-metric multidimensional scaling showed that bacterial community composition was primarily separated according to salinity and secondly according to seasonal differences at all taxonomic ranks tested. Similarly, quantitative phylogenetic clustering implicated a phylogenetic signal for both salinity and seasonality. Our results suggest that global patterns of bacterial community composition with respect to salinity and season are the result of phylogenetically clustered ecological preferences with stronger imprints from salinity.
Project description:Salinity has a strong impact on bacterial community composition such that freshwater bacterial communities are very different from those in seawater. By contrast, little is known about the composition and diversity of the bacterial community in the sediments (bacteriobenthos) at the freshwater-seawater transition (mesohaline conditions). In this study, partial 16S-rRNA sequences were used to investigate the bacterial community at five stations, representing almost freshwater (oligohaline) to marine conditions, in the Baltic Sea. Samples were obtained from the silty, top-layer (0-2.5 cm) sediments with mostly oxygenated conditions. The long water residence time characteristic of the Baltic Sea, was predicted to enable the development of autochthonous bacteriobenthos at mesohaline conditions. Our results showed that, similar to the water column, salinity is a major factor in structuring the bacteriobenthos and that there is no loss of bacterial richness at intermediate salinities. The bacterial communities of marine, mesohaline, and oligohaline sediments differed in terms of the relative rRNA abundances of the major bacterial phyla/classes. At mesohaline conditions typical marine and oligohaline operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were abundant. Putative unique OTUs in mesohaline sediments were present only at low abundances, suggesting that the mesohaline environment consists mainly of marine and oligohaline bacteria with a broad salinity tolerance. Our study provides a first overview of the diversity patterns and composition of bacteria in the sediments along the Baltic Sea salinity gradient as well as new insights into the bacteriobenthos at mesohaline conditions.
Project description:Microbes are main drivers of biogeochemical cycles in oceans and lakes. Although the genome is a foundation for understanding the metabolism, ecology and evolution of an organism, few bacterioplankton genomes have been sequenced, partly due to difficulties in cultivating them.We use automatic binning to reconstruct a large number of bacterioplankton genomes from a metagenomic time-series from the Baltic Sea, one of world's largest brackish water bodies. These genomes represent novel species within typical freshwater and marine clades, including clades not previously sequenced. The genomes' seasonal dynamics follow phylogenetic patterns, but with fine-grained lineage-specific variations, reflected in gene-content. Signs of streamlining are evident in most genomes, and estimated genome sizes correlate with abundance variation across filter size fractions. Comparing the genomes with globally distributed metagenomes reveals significant fragment recruitment at high sequence identity from brackish waters in North America, but little from lakes or oceans. This suggests the existence of a global brackish metacommunity whose populations diverged from freshwater and marine relatives over 100,000 years ago, long before the Baltic Sea was formed (8000 years ago). This markedly contrasts to most Baltic Sea multicellular organisms, which are locally adapted populations of freshwater or marine counterparts.We describe the gene content, temporal dynamics and biogeography of a large set of new bacterioplankton genomes assembled from metagenomes. We propose that brackish environments exert such strong selection that lineages adapted to them flourish globally with limited influence from surrounding aquatic communities.
Project description:Shifts in bacterioplankton community composition along the salinity gradient of the Parker River estuary and Plum Island Sound, in northeastern Massachusetts, were related to residence time and bacterial community doubling time in spring, summer, and fall seasons. Bacterial community composition was characterized with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified 16S ribosomal DNA. Average community doubling time was calculated from bacterial production ([(14)C]leucine incorporation) and bacterial abundance (direct counts). Freshwater and marine populations advected into the estuary represented a large fraction of the bacterioplankton community in all seasons. However, a unique estuarine community formed at intermediate salinities in summer and fall, when average doubling time was much shorter than water residence time, but not in spring, when doubling time was similar to residence time. Sequencing of DNA in DGGE bands demonstrated that most bands represented single phylotypes and that matching bands from different samples represented identical phylotypes. Most river and coastal ocean bacterioplankton were members of common freshwater and marine phylogenetic clusters within the phyla Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and ACTINOBACTERIA: Estuarine bacterioplankton also belonged to these phyla but were related to clones and isolates from several different environments, including marine water columns, freshwater sediments, and soil.
Project description:Several models have been developed for the description of diversity in estuaries and other brackish habitats, with the most recognized being Remane's Artenminimum ("species minimum") concept. It was developed for the Baltic Sea, one of the world's largest semi-enclosed brackish water body with a unique permanent salinity gradient, and it argues that taxonomic diversity of macrobenthic organisms is lowest within the horohalinicum (5 to 8 psu). The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between salinity and sediment microbial diversity at a freshwater-marine transect in Amvrakikos Gulf (Ionian Sea, Western Greece) and assess whether species composition and community function follow a generalized concept such as Remane's. DNA was extracted from sediment samples from six stations along the aforementioned transect and sequenced for the 16S rRNA gene using high-throughput sequencing. The metabolic functions of the OTUs were predicted and the most abundant metabolic pathways were extracted. Key abiotic variables, i.e., salinity, temperature, chlorophyll-a and oxygen concentration etc., were measured and their relation with diversity and functional patterns was explored. Microbial communities were found to differ in the three habitats examined (river, lagoon and sea) with certain taxonomic groups being more abundant in the freshwater and less in the marine environment, and vice versa. Salinity was the environmental factor with the highest correlation to the microbial community pattern, while oxygen concentration was highly correlated to the metabolic functional pattern. The total number of OTUs showed a negative relationship with increasing salinity, thus the sediment microbial OTUs in this study area do not follow Remane's concept.
Project description:Transposases are mobile genetic elements suggested to have an important role in bacterial genome plasticity and host adaptation but their transcriptional activity in natural bacterial communities is largely unexplored. Here we analyzed metagenomes and -transcriptomes of size fractionated (0.1-0.8, 0.8-3.0 and 3.0-200??m) bacterial communities from the brackish Baltic Sea, and adjacent marine waters. The Baltic Sea transposase levels, up to 1.7% of bacterial genes and 2% of bacterial transcripts, were considerably higher than in marine waters and similar to levels reported for extreme environments. Large variations in expression were found between transposase families and groups of bacteria, with a two-fold higher transcription in Cyanobacteria than in any other phylum. The community-level results were corroborated at the genus level by Synechococcus transposases reaching up to 5.2% of genes and 6.9% of transcripts, which is in contrast to marine Synechococcus that largely lack these genes. Levels peaked in Synechococcus from the largest size fraction, suggesting high frequencies of lateral gene transfer and high genome plasticity in colony-forming picocyanobacteria. Together, the results support an elevated rate of transposition-based genome change and adaptation in bacterial populations of the Baltic Sea, and possibly also of other highly dynamic estuarine waters.
Project description:Differences in salinity are boundaries that act as barriers for the dispersal of most aquatic organisms. This creates distinctive biota in freshwater and brackish water (mesohaline) environments. To test how saline boundaries influence the diversity and composition of host-associated microbiota, we analyzed the microbiome within the digestive tract of Theodoxus fluviatilis, an organism able to cross the freshwater and mesohaline boundary. Alpha-diversity measures of the microbiome in freshwater and brackish water were not significantly different. However, the composition of the bacterial community within freshwater T. fluviatilis differed significantly compared with mesohaline T. fluviatilis and typical bacteria could be determined for the freshwater and the mesohaline digestive tract microbiome. An artificial increase in salinity surrounding these freshwater snails resulted in a strong change in the bacterial community and typical marine bacteria became more pronounced in the digestive tract microbiome of freshwater T. fluviatilis. However, the composition of the digestive tract microbiome in freshwater snails did not converge to that found within mesohaline snails. Within mesohaline snails, no cardinal change was found after either an increase or decrease in salinity. In all samples, Pseudomonas, Pirellula, Flavobacterium, Limnohabitans, and Acinetobacter were among the most abundant bacteria. These bacterial genera were largely unaffected by changes in environmental conditions. As permanent residents in T. fluviatilis, they may support the digestion of the algal food in the digestive tract. Our results show that freshwater and mesohaline water host-associated microbiomes respond differently to changes in salinity. Therefore, the salinization of coastal freshwater environments due to a rise in sea level can influence the gut microbiome and its functions with currently unknown consequences for, e.g., nutritional physiology of the host.
Project description:Microbial plankton form the productive base of both marine and freshwater ecosystems and are key drivers of global biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nutrients. Plankton diversity is immense with representations from all major phyla within the three domains of life. So far, plankton monitoring has mainly been based on microscopic identification, which has limited sensitivity and reproducibility, not least because of the numerical majority of plankton being unidentifiable under the light microscope. High-throughput sequencing of taxonomic marker genes offers a means to identify taxa inaccessible by traditional methods; thus, recent studies have unveiled an extensive previously unknown diversity of plankton. Here, we conducted ultra-deep Illumina sequencing (average 10(5) sequences/sample) of rRNA gene amplicons of surface water eukaryotic and bacterial plankton communities sampled in summer along a 2000 km transect following the salinity gradient of the Baltic Sea. Community composition was strongly correlated with salinity for both bacterial and eukaryotic plankton assemblages, highlighting the importance of salinity for structuring the biodiversity within this ecosystem. In contrast, no clear trends in alpha-diversity for bacterial or eukaryotic communities could be detected along the transect. The distribution of major planktonic taxa followed expected patterns as observed in monitoring programs, but groups novel to the Baltic Sea were also identified, such as relatives to the coccolithophore Emiliana huxleyi detected in the northern Baltic Sea. This study provides the first ultra-deep sequencing-based survey on eukaryotic and bacterial plankton biogeography in the Baltic Sea.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The degree of genetic differentiation among populations experiencing high levels of gene flow is expected to be low for neutral genomic sites, but substantial divergence can occur in sites subject to directional selection. Studies of highly mobile marine fish populations provide an opportunity to investigate this kind of heterogeneous genomic differentiation, but most studies to this effect have focused on a relatively low number of genetic markers and/or few populations. Hence, the patterns and extent of genomic divergence in high-gene flow marine fish populations remain poorly understood. RESULTS: We here investigated genome-wide patterns of genetic variability and differentiation in 10 marine populations of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) distributed across a steep salinity and temperature gradient in the Baltic Sea, by utilizing?>?30,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms obtained with a pooled RAD-seq approach. We found that genetic diversity and differentiation varied widely across the genome, and identified numerous fairly narrow genomic regions exhibiting signatures of both divergent and balancing selection. Evidence was uncovered for substantial genetic differentiation associated with both salinity and temperature gradients, and many candidate genes associated with local adaptation in the Baltic Sea were identified. CONCLUSIONS: The patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation, as well as candidate genes associated with adaptation in Baltic Sea sticklebacks were similar to those observed in earlier comparisons between marine and freshwater populations, suggesting that similar processes may be driving adaptation to brackish and freshwater environments. Taken together, our results provide strong evidence for heterogenic genomic divergence driven by local adaptation in the face of gene flow along an environmental gradient in the post-glacially formed Baltic Sea.