Interactions between specific phytoplankton and bacteria affect lake bacterial community succession

Sara F. Paver, Kevin R. Hayek, Kelsey A. Gano, Jennie R. Fagen, Christopher T. Brown, Austin G. Davis-Richardson, David B. Crabb, Richard Rosario-Passapera, Adriana Giongo, Eric W. Triplett, Angela D. Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Time-series observations and a phytoplankton manipulation experiment were combined to test the hypothesis that phytoplankton succession effects changes in bacterial community composition. Three humic lakes were sampled weekly May-August and correlations between relative abundances of specific phytoplankton and bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in each time series were determined. To experimentally characterize the influence of phytoplankton, bacteria from each lake were incubated with phytoplankton from one of the three lakes or no phytoplankton. Following incubation, variation in bacterial community composition explained by phytoplankton treatment increased 65%, while the variation explained by bacterial source decreased 64%. Free-living bacteria explained, on average, over 60% of the difference between phytoplankton and corresponding no-phytoplankton control treatments. Fourteen out of the 101 bacterial OTUs that exhibited positively correlated patterns of abundance with specific algal populations in time-series observations were enriched in mesocosms following incubation with phytoplankton, and one out of 59 negatively correlated bacterial OTUs was depleted in phytoplankton treatments. Bacterial genera enriched in mesocosms containing specific phytoplankton assemblages included Limnohabitans (clade betI-A), Bdellovibrio and Mitsuaria. These results suggest that effects of phytoplankton on certain bacterial populations, including bacteria tracking seasonal changes in algal-derived organic matter, result in correlations between algal and bacterial community dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2489-2504
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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