AME 55:31-38 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01282

Distribution of free-living and particle-attached aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in marine environments

Raphaël Lami1,2,7,*, Zuzana Cuperová3,4, Josephine Ras5,6, Philippe Lebaron1,2, Michal Koblízek3,4

1UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7621, LOBB, Observatoire Océanologique, 66651 Banyuls-sur-Mer, France
2CNRS, UMR 7621, LOBB, Observatoire Océanologique, 66651 Banyuls-sur-Mer, France
3Institute of Physical Biology, University of South Bohemia, Zámek 136, 373 33 Nové Hrady, Czech Republic
4Institute of Microbiology CAS, Opatovick&%FD; ml&%FD;n, 379 81 Trebon, Czech Republic
5UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7093, Lab. d’Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
6CNRS, UMR 7093, LOV, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
7Present address: College of Marine and Earth Studies, University of Delaware, Lewes, Delaware 19958, USA
*Email:

ABSTRACT: Aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AAP) bacteria are bacteriochlorophyll a-containing prokaryotes which can use both light and organic compounds as energy sources. This functional group is ubiquitous in the euphotic zone of the oceans. Nevertheless, life strategies, distribution patterns and physiology of AAP bacteria remain largely unknown. We combined infrared fluorometry, microscopic counts and HPLC pigment analysis to characterize free-living and particle-attached AAP bacterial populations. Using a size-fractionation approach, we found that the size distribution of AAP bacteria and the fraction of particle-attached cells varied greatly among different marine environments. In the open sea environments (Atlantic Ocean, offshore Mediterranean Sea), the main portion of AAP bacterial fluorescence was in the <0.8 µm fraction, which indicates that the majority of AAP bacteria in these regions were free-living cells <0.8 µm. In these environments, only a few particle-attached AAP bacteria were found. In coastal Mediterranean waters, the fraction of larger cells increased together with a few particle-attached cells, but >50% of AAP bacteria were free living. In a coastal lagoon and in the deep chlorophyll a maximum at an offshore Mediterranean station, particle-attached AAP bacteria formed up to half of the AAP bacterial community. The results presented here suggest that AAP bacteria can take on either free-living or particle-attached lifestyles depending on environmental conditions.


KEY WORDS: AAP bacteria · Photoheterotrophy · Free-living bacteria · Particle-attached bacteria


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Cite this article as: Lami R, Cuperová Z, Ras J, Lebaron P, Koblízek M (2009) Distribution of free-living and particle-attached aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in marine environments. Aquat Microb Ecol 55:31-38. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01282

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