AME 67:59-76 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01582

Optimization of viral profiling approaches reveals strong links between viral and bacterial communities in a eutrophic freshwater lake

Dana M. Hardbower1,2, Jessica L. Dolman2, Dustin R. Glasner2,3, Joseph A. Kendra2, Kurt E. Williamson2,*

1Interdisciplinary Graduate Program for the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37212, USA
2Department of Biology, College of William and Mary, 3035 Integrated Science Center, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185, USA
3Laboratory of Retroviruses, Division of Viral Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The goals of this 18 mo field study were to examine temporal changes in viral community composition in a temperate eutrophic freshwater lake (Lake Matoaka) and to identify potential drivers of seasonal changes in microbial community composition. We show that analyses of aquatic viral community composition can be streamlined by concentrating viruses from small water samples without compromising the resolution of the community profile data. The use of small-volume viral concentrates paired with randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) polmerase chain reaction (PCR) generated significantly richer and more complex banding patterns than the use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and the large-volume concentrates that PFGE requires. Thus, the small-volume RAPD-PCR approach was used in the subsequent analyses. Viral and bacterial communities in Lake Matoaka were highly dynamic, exhibiting strong seasonal shifts. However, repeating annual patterns were not detected among the bacterial or viral communities. Temperature was the most important factor explaining changes in viral and bacterial abundance. Viral and bacterial abundance were also significantly correlated to each other. Multivariate analysis indicated weak relationships between temperature and bacterial community composition and between temperature and viral community composition. Mantel tests revealed a strong and significant correlation between viral and bacterial community composition. Taken together with the correlation between viral and bacterial abundance, these data suggest that phages dominate the virioplankton of Lake Matoaka and indicate tightly linked phage–host dynamics.


KEY WORDS: Virioplankton · Bacterioplankton · RAPD-PCR · tRFLP · Eutrophic lake · Community dynamics


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Cite this article as: Hardbower DM, Dolman JL, Glasner DR, Kendra JA, Williamson KE (2012) Optimization of viral profiling approaches reveals strong links between viral and bacterial communities in a eutrophic freshwater lake. Aquat Microb Ecol 67:59-76. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01582

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