Viral control of biomass and diversity of bacterioplankton in the deep sea.
ABSTRACT: Viral abundance in deep-sea environments is high. However, the biological, ecological and biogeochemical roles of viruses in the deep sea are under debate. In the present study, microcosm incubations of deep-sea bacterioplankton (2,000?m deep) with normal and reduced pressure of viral lysis were conducted in the western Pacific Ocean. We observed a negative effect of viruses on prokaryotic abundance, indicating the top-down control of bacterioplankton by virioplankton in the deep-sea. The decreased bacterial diversity and a different bacterial community structure with diluted viruses indicate that viruses are sustaining a diverse microbial community in deep-sea environments. Network analysis showed that relieving viral pressure decreased the complexity and clustering coefficients but increased the proportion of positive correlations for the potentially active bacterial community, which suggests that viruses impact deep-sea bacterioplankton interactions. Our study provides experimental evidences of the crucial role of viruses in microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in deep-sea ecosystems.
Project description:Virioplankton are an important and abundant biological component of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Often overlooked, aquatic viruses play an important role in biogeochemical cycles on a global scale, infecting both autotrophic and heterotrophic microbes. Viral diversity, abundance, and viral interactions at different trophic levels in aqueous environments are not well understood. Tropical ecosystems are less frequently studied than temperate ecosystems, but could provide new insights into how physical and chemical variability can shape or force microbial community changes. In this study, we found high viral abundance values in Guanabara Bay relative to other estuaries around the world. Viral abundance was positively correlated with bacterioplankton abundance and chlorophyll a concentrations. Moreover, prokaryotic and viral abundance were positively correlated with eutrophication, especially in surface waters. These results provide novel baseline data on the quantitative distribution of aquatic viruses in tropical estuaries. They also provide new information on a complex and dynamic relationship in which environmental factors influence the abundance of bacterial hosts and consequently their viruses. Guanabara Bay is characterized by spatial and seasonal variations, and the eutrophication process is the most important factor explaining the structuring of virioplankton abundance and distribution in this tropical urbanized bay.
Project description:The South China Sea (SCS) is the largest marginal sea in the western tropical Pacific Ocean and is characterized by complex physicochemical environments. To date, the biogeographic patterns of the microbial communities have rarely been reported at a basin scale in the SCS. In this study, the bacterial assemblages inhabiting the epipelagic zone across 110°E to 119°E along 14°N latitude were uncovered. The vertical stratification of both bacterial taxa and their potential functions were revealed. These results suggest that the water depth-specific environment is a driver of the vertical bacterioplankton distribution. Moreover, the bacterial communities were different between the eastern stations and the western stations, where the environmental conditions were distinct. However, the mesoscale eddy did not show an obvious effect on the bacterial community due to the large distance between the sampling site and the center of the eddy. In addition to the water depth and longitudinal location of the samples, the heterogeneity of the phosphate and salinity concentrations also significantly contributed to the variance in the epipelagic bacterial community in the SCS. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to report that the variability in epipelagic bacterioplankton is driven by the physicochemical environment at the basin scale in the SCS. Our results emphasize that the ecological significance of bacterioplankton can be better understood by considering the relationship between the biogeographic distribution of bacteria and the oceanic dynamics processes.
Project description:Bacterioplankton play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems. However, their temporal dynamics and underlying control mechanisms are poorly understood in tropical regions such as the Red Sea. Here, we assessed the impact of bottom-up (resource availability) and top-down (viruses and heterotrophic nanoflagellates) controls on bacterioplankton abundances by weekly sampling a coastal central Red Sea site in 2017. We monitored microbial abundances by flow cytometry together with a set of environmental variables including temperature, salinity, dissolved organic and inorganic nutrients and chlorophyll a. We distinguished five groups of heterotrophic bacteria depending on their physiological properties relative nucleic acid content, membrane integrity and cell-specific respiratory activity, two groups of Synechococcus cyanobacteria and three groups of viruses. Viruses controlled heterotrophic bacteria for most of the year, as supported by a negative correlation between their respective abundances and a positive one between bacterial mortality rates and mean viral abundances. On the contrary, heterotrophic nanoflagellates abundance covaried with that of heterotrophic bacteria. Heterotrophic nanoflagellates showed preference for larger bacteria from both the high and low nucleic acid content groups. Our results demonstrate that top-down control is fundamental in keeping heterotrophic bacterioplankton abundances low (< 5 × 10 5 cells mL-1) in Red Sea coastal waters.
Project description: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:The Southern Ocean is among the least explored marine environments on Earth, and still little is known about regional and vertical variability in the diversity of Antarctic marine prokaryotes. In this study, the bacterioplankton community in both epipelagic and mesopelagic waters was assessed at two adjacent stations by high-throughput sequencing and quantitative PCR. Water temperature was significantly higher in the superficial photic zone, while higher salinity and dissolved oxygen were recorded in the deeper water layers. The highest abundance of the bacterioplankton was found at a depth of 75 m, corresponding to the deep chlorophyll maximum layer. Both Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria were the most abundant taxa throughout the water column, while more sequences affiliated to Cyanobacteria and unclassified bacteria were identified from surface and the deepest waters, respectively. Temperature was the most significant environmental variable affecting the bacterial community structure. The bacterial community composition displayed significant differences at the epipelagic layers between two stations, whereas those in the mesopelagic waters were more similar to each other. Our results indicated that the epipelagic bacterioplankton might be dominated by short-term environmental variable conditions, whereas the mesopelagic communities appeared to be structured by longer water-mass residence time and relative stable environmental factors.
Project description:This study explored the spatiotemporal dynamics of the bacterioplankton community composition in the Gulf of Finland (easternmost sub-basin of the Baltic Sea) based on phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA sequences acquired from community samples via pyrosequencing. Investigations of bacterioplankton in hydrographically complex systems provide good insight into the strategies by which microbes deal with spatiotemporal hydrographic gradients, as demonstrated by our research. Many ribotypes were closely affiliated with sequences isolated from environments with similar steep physiochemical gradients and/or seasonal changes, including seasonally anoxic estuaries. Hence, one of the main conclusions of this study is that marine ecosystems where oxygen and salinity gradients co-occur can be considered a habitat for a cosmopolitan metacommunity consisting of specialized groups occupying niches universal to such environments throughout the world. These niches revolve around functional capabilities to utilize different electron receptors and donors (including trace metal and single carbon compounds). On the other hand, temporal shifts in the bacterioplankton community composition at the surface layer were mainly connected to the seasonal succession of phytoplankton and the inflow of freshwater species. We also conclude that many relatively abundant populations are indigenous and well-established in the area.
Project description:Virioplankton is an important component of the aquatic ecosystem and plays multiple ecological and biogeochemical roles. Although the spatial and temporal distributions and dynamics of virioplankton have been well investigated in riverine and marine environments, little is known about the dynamics and environmental controlling mechanisms of virioplankton in estuaries. In this study, viral abundance, production and decay were examined in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE), one of the largest estuaries in China. The influences of freshwater and seawater mixing on viral ecological dynamics were evaluated with several cross-transplant experiments. In PRE, viral abundance, production and decay rates varied from 2.72?±?0.09 to 27.5?±?1.07?×?10<sup>6</sup> viruses ml<sup>-1</sup>, 7.98?±?2.33 to 16.27?±?2.85% h<sup>-1</sup> and 0.80?±?0.23 to 3.74?±?0.98% h<sup>-1</sup>, respectively. When the riverine and marine microbial community were transferred into simulated brackish water, viral production rates were markedly inhibited by 83.8% and 47.3%, respectively. The decay of riverine and marine virioplankton was inhibited by 21.1% and 34.2%, respectively, in simulated brackish water. These results indicate change of estuarine environmental factors significantly alters the dynamics of riverine and marine virioplankton. In addition, the effects of mixing on viral production and decay differed between high- and low-fluorescence viruses. High-fluorescence viruses seemed more resistant to decay than low-fluorescence viruses, whereas the production of marine low-fluorescence viruses seemed more resistant to inhibition than that of marine high-fluorescence viruses. Together, these results provide new insights into the ecological dynamics of virioplankton in estuarine environments.
Project description:The potential effect of UV radiation on the composition of coastal marine bacterioplankton communities was investigated. Dilution cultures with seawater collected from the surface mixed layer of the coastal North Sea were exposed to different ranges of natural or artificial solar radiation for up to two diurnal cycles. The composition of the bacterioplankton community prior to exposure was compared to that after exposure to the different radiation regimes using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA and 16S ribosomal DNA. Only minor changes in the composition of the bacterial community in the different radiation regimes were detectable. Sequencing of selected bands obtained by DGGE revealed that some species of the Flexibacter-Cytophaga-Bacteroides (FCB) group were sensitive to UV radiation while other species of the FCB group were resistant. Overall, only up to approximately 10% of the operational taxonomic units present in the dilution cultures appeared to be affected by UV radiation. Thus, we conclude that UV radiation has little effect on the composition of coastal marine bacterioplankton communities in the North Sea.
Project description:The bacterioneuston is the community of Bacteria present in surface microlayers, the thin surface film that forms the interface between aquatic environments and the atmosphere. In this study we compared bacterial cell abundances and bacterial community structures of the bacterioneuston and the bacterioplankton (from the subsurface water column) during a phytoplankton bloom mesocosm experiment. Bacterial cell abundance, determined by flow cytometry, followed a typical bacterioplankton response to a phytoplankton bloom, with Synechococcus and high-nucleic acid content (HNA) bacterial cell numbers initially falling, probably due to selective protist grazing. Subsequently HNA and low-nucleic acid content bacterial cells increased in abundance, but Synechococcus cells did not. There was no significant difference between bacterioneuston and bacterioplankton cell abundances during the experiment. Conversely, distinct and consistent differences between the bacterioneuston and the bacterioplankton community structures were observed. This was monitored simultaneously by Bacteria 16S rRNA gene terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. The conserved patterns of community structure observed in all of the mesocosms indicate that the bacterioneuston is distinctive and nonrandom.
Project description:A bacterial community may be resistant to environmental disturbances if some of its species show metabolic flexibility and physiological tolerance to the changing conditions. Alternatively, disturbances can change the composition of the community and thereby potentially affect ecosystem processes. The impact of disturbance on the composition of bacterioplankton communities was examined in continuous seawater cultures. Bacterial assemblages from geographically closely connected areas, the Baltic Sea (salinity 7 and high dissolved organic carbon [DOC]) and Skagerrak (salinity 28 and low DOC), were exposed to gradual opposing changes in salinity and DOC over a 3-week period such that the Baltic community was exposed to Skagerrak salinity and DOC and vice versa. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and clone libraries of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA genes showed that the composition of the transplanted communities differed significantly from those held at constant salinity. Despite this, the growth yields (number of cells ml(-1)) were similar, which suggests similar levels of substrate utilization. Deep 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes showed that the composition of the disturbed communities had changed due to the recruitment of phylotypes present in the rare biosphere of the original community. The study shows that members of the rare biosphere can become abundant in a bacterioplankton community after disturbance and that those bacteria can have important roles in maintaining ecosystem processes.