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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME - Vol. 54, No. 2 - Feature article
Bacterial morphotypes detected by the newly developed image analysis procedure and labelled by coloured overlays. Insert: Study site Piburger See, Austria. Photo: Posch & Salcher

Posch T, Franzoi J, Prader M, Salcher MM


New image analysis tool to study biomass and morphotypes of three major bacterioplankton groups in an alpine lake


Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques are increasingly applied for the enumeration of bacterial phylotypes in freshwater systems. An image analysis procedure was developed to analyse the contribution of different morphotypes of Bacteria to total numbers and biomasses. This study highlights that hybridization with the general bacterial probe EUBI-III detects the major fraction of bacterioplankton carbon (biomass), even at generally low numerical hybridization efficiencies. Further, we observed distinct seasonal and spatial dynamics of morphotypes belonging to three phylogenetic groups (Actinobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides) in an alpine lake. Certain lineages contributed more to total biomass than to abundance, whereas highly abundant Actinobacteria represented only a minor part of the bacterial carbon pool.


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