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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 66:169-181 (2012)  -  DOI:

Contrasting dynamics in activity and community composition of free-living and particle-associated bacteria in spring

Stefan Rösel1, Hans-Peter Grossart1,2,*

1Department of Limnology of Stratified Lakes, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Alte Fischerhütte 2, 16775 Stechlin, Germany
2Potsdam University, Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam, Germany

ABSTRACT: Phytoplankton development affects the community structure and dynamics of freshwater bacteria by changing the availability of nutrients, algal exudates and biological surfaces. To elucidate these effects of phytoplankton development in spring in oligotrophic Lake Stechlin (Germany), we measured limnological and biological parameters, including the bacterial community composition (BCC), at the depth of the highest chlorophyll a concentration. To increase the resolution of BCC measurements, we separated particle-associated (PA) and free-living (FL) bacteria using serial filtration through 5.0 and 0.2 µm pore size filters, respectively. The BCC of ultramicrobacteria was also determined by collecting the 0.2 µm filtrate on 0.1 µm filters. Changes in the community composition of Bacteria and particularly of Actinobacteria, one of the most important bacterial groups in temperate freshwater habitats, were studied via DGGE analysis of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments. Patterns in BCC dynamics of FL Bacteria and Actinobacteria remained fairly constant throughout the study period, while patterns of PA Bacteria were more variable over time. At the breakdown of the diatom spring bloom, bacterial production and abundance sharply increased, indicating a close coupling between heterotrophic bacteria and algal detritus. The succession in BCC revealed life-style dependent patterns related to specific environmental variables. Our results indicate independent dynamics of PA and FL Bacteria as well as Actinobacteria during succession of phytoplankton spring blooms. These differences in bacterial lifestyle can only be resolved when the PA and FL fractions of microorganisms are separated.

KEY WORDS: Bacterial community composition (BCC) · Spring bloom · Bacteria-phytoplankton coupling · Pollen · Free-living and particle-associated bacteria · Lake Stechlin

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Cite this article as: Rösel S, Grossart HP (2012) Contrasting dynamics in activity and community composition of free-living and particle-associated bacteria in spring. Aquat Microb Ecol 66:169-181.

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