Vertical Structure of Heterotrophic Bacterioplankton Communities in the Western Pacific Ocean

Eleanor S. Austria1,2,3,4*, Chun-Wei Chang2,3,4, Ku-Wai Wang2, Joan S. Awingan1, Kuo-Yuan Li2, and Fuh-Kwo Shiah2

1Biology Department, Adamson University, 900 San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila, Philippines
2Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
3Taiwan International Graduate Program, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
4National Central University, Zhongli, Taiwan

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The abundance and composition of summer heterotrophic bacterioplankton communities at the Western Pacific Ocean (WPO) were determined using catalyzed-reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH) technique. Several oligonucleotide probes specific to the Domain Bacteria (EUB338), Phylum Proteobacteria (α-, β-, and γ-Proteobacteria and SAR 11); Actinobacteria (HGC); and Cytophaga-Flavobacter-Bacteroides (CFB) were used to identify and quantify the common bacterial phyla relative to total microbial abundance using  4’ 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) over a depth profile – from 10 to 4000 m. The profiles of microbial and bacterial abundance, temperature, and oxygen all decreased with depth, in contrast to the profiles of the inorganic compounds.  Around 30–59% of the DAPI-positive cells took up the EUB338 probe, suggesting that bacteria are numerically significant components of the microbial biomass in the WPO. Phylum Proteobacteria was the predominant group in the whole water column, with classes α-and γ-Proteobacteria and SAR 11 numerically dominating at specific depths. Statistical analyses showed an association between the bacterial groups – α-Proteobacteria and CFB – and the environmental parameters – temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration – at the depth of 100 m, suggesting the role of organic matter and temperature in structuring the bacterial community in this oceanic regime. This study provided a preview on the abundance and controls of specific groups of heterotrophic bacteria in the WPO, warranting a more detailed and comprehensive investigation of the community structure at clade or genus level.



Heterotrophic bacterioplankton, herein referred to as bacteria, are microscopic organisms that play major roles in the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients in aquatic systems. They are responsible for the mineralization of organic compounds, processing more than 50% of the phytoplankton-produced organic matter in the water column (Biddanda 1988). In addition, they convert these non-living organic compounds into biomass that then enters the food chain. This central role in carbon cycling is emphasized in the microbial loop, a concept that links the bacterial conversion of dissolved organic compounds (DOC) into biomass for the higher trophic levels (Jiao & Zheng 2011). . . . . read more



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