Shifts in the composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) may be a principal factor effecting changes in bacterial community composition. Emerald Lake, a high-elevation lake with DOM dominated by terrestrial sources in the spring with increasing phytoplankton-derived inputs throughout the ice-free season, provided a natural experiment with which to investigate the importance of resource-mediated drivers. Glycolate-utilizing bacteria, a subset of the bacterial community able to use algal exudates, were characterized using DNA analysis of glycolate oxidase subunit D (glcD) genes from Emerald Lake samples collected approximately biweekly from ice-cover (June) through fall turnover (September). glcD genes were not detected in early-season samples when the lake was ice-covered and phytoplankton-derived resources were scarce. Following this period, glcD gene composition exhibited significant changes through time, which were strongly correlated with the combination of fluorescence index, an indicator of the proportion of lake vs. terrestrially derived DOM, and dissolved inorganic nitrate + nitrite. These results suggest that seasonal shifts in DOM source and environmental variables that affect the composition of algal-derived dissolved resources drive changes in the relative abundance and composition of putative glycolate-utilizing bacteria. These findings strengthen the evidence for shifts in DOM structuring bacterial communities.
- Algal exudate
- Bacterial community dynamics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology