AME 72:215-225 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01696

Linkage between copepods and bacteria in the North Atlantic Ocean

Daniele De Corte1,*,**, Itziar Lekunberri1,**, Eva Sintes1, Juan Antonio L. Garcia1, Santiago Gonzales2, Gerhard J. Herndl1,2 

1Department of Limnology and Oceanography, Center of Ecology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria
2Department of Biological Oceanography, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, 1790 AB, Den Burg, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author:
**Both authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Copepods and bacteria are fundamental components of the pelagic food web and play a major role in biogeochemical cycles. Marine bacteria have a free-living or particle-attached lifestyle, but as members of the microbial food web, the only biotic interaction of bacteria is commonly assumed to be with their predators (protists and/or viruses). However, a copepod's body is highly enriched in organic matter and harbors a large and complex bacterial community. The aim of this study was to compare the composition of the free-living bacterial community of the open Atlantic to that associated with copepods. We used 454 high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to decipher the bacterial community composition associated with this zooplankton group and the ambient water. Significant differences were found between the bacterial communities associated with the dominant copepod families (Calanoida: Centropagidae and Clausocalanidae; Cyclopoida: Corycaeidae, Oncaeidae, and Lubbockiidae) and the ambient water. Bacilli and Actinobacteria dominated the copepod-associated community and Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, and Synechococcus dominated the free-living community. However, the presence of shared bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) between these 2 distinct habitats suggests a dynamic exchange of bacteria between seawater and copepods. Taken together, our results support the hypothesis that the interior and exterior surfaces of copepods provide a specific niche with a strong selective pressure for bacteria.


KEY WORDS: Microbes · Zooplankton · Open ocean · 454 pyrosequencing


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Cite this article as: De Corte D, Lekunberri I, Sintes E, Garcia JAL, Gonzales S, Herndl GJ (2014) Linkage between copepods and bacteria in the North Atlantic Ocean. Aquat Microb Ecol 72:215-225. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01696

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