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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 69:17-31 (2013)  -  DOI:

Diversity and temporal dynamics of Southern California coastal marine cyanophage isolates

Jessica L. Clasen1,3,**, China A. Hanson1,4,*,**, Yazeed Ibrahim1, Claudia Weihe1,
Marcia F. Marston2, Jennifer B. H. Martiny1

1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, California 92627, USA
2Department of Biology and Marine Biology, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809, USA
3Present address: Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
4Present address: School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
 *Corresponding author. Email:
**These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Marine ecosystems contain an immense diversity of phages, many of which infect the cyanobacteria responsible for a portion of oceanic primary productivity. To add to the growing body of research on the dynamics and diversity of these cyanophages, we measured cyanophage abundance, diversity, and community composition monthly for 15 mo at 3 coastal locations in Southern California, USA. We characterized over 900 individual cyanophages, isolated on Synechococcus sp. WH7803, by amplifying and sequencing 2 different genes from each isolate: g20 (the portal protein gene) and psbA (a host-derived gene involved in photosynthesis). The taxonomic composition and diversity of isolated cyanophages were highly variable over time, with little variation across the 3 locations. Particular taxa dominated the community at distinct times of year, with more rapid turnover of dominant types and higher overall abundance and diversity during spring and summer. These temporal patterns as well as taxonomic designations were highly congruent for both genes, based on operational taxonomic units (OTUs) defined at 99% nucleotide similarity, despite a greater level of amino acid conservation within psbA as compared to g20. Overall, this suggests that either gene can serve as a useful marker for cyanophage diversity. However, we detected 1 myovirus taxon (representing about 2.5% of the isolates) of uncertain phylogenetic affiliation that was negative for psbA amplification. Further sampling is necessary to assess whether these temporal dynamics in cyanophage composition, diversity, and abundance are seasonally recurring.

KEY WORDS: Cyanophage · g20 · psbA · Myovirus · Synechococcus · Temporal · Diversity

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Cite this article as: Clasen JL, Hanson CA, Ibrahim Y, Weihe C, Marston MF, Martiny JBH (2013) Diversity and temporal dynamics of Southern California coastal marine cyanophage isolates. Aquat Microb Ecol 69:17-31.

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