Combined carbohydrates support rich communities of particle-associated marine bacterioplankton

Antje.Wichels [ at ]


Carbohydrates represent an important fraction of labile and semi-labile marine organic matter that is mainly comprised of exopolymeric substances derived from phytoplankton exudation and decay. This study investigates the composition of total combined carbohydrates (tCCHO; > 1 kDa) and the community development of free-living (0.2 - 3 μm) and particle-associated (3 - 10 μm) bacterioplankton during a spring phytoplankton bloom in the southern North Sea. Furthermore, rates were determined for the extracellular enzymatic hydrolysis that catalyzes the initial step in bacterial organic matter remineralization. Concentrations of tCCHO greatly increased during bloom development, while the composition showed only minor changes over time. The combined concentration of glucose, galactose, fucose, rhamnose, galactosamine, glucosamine and glucuronic acid in tCCHO was a significant factor shaping the community composition of the particle-associated bacteria. The richness of particle-associated bacteria greatly increased in the post‐bloom phase. At the same time, the increase in extracellular β‐glucosidase activity was sufficient to explain the observed decrease in tCCHO, indicating the efficient utilization of carbohydrates by the bacterioplankton community during the post-bloom phase. Our results suggest that carbohydrate concentration and composition are important factors in the multifactorial environmental control of bacterioplankton succession and the enzymatic hydrolysis of organic matter during phytoplankton blooms.

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DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00065

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Sperling, M. , Piontek, J. , Engel, A. , Wiltshire, K. H. , Niggemann, J. , Gerdts, G. and Wichels, A. (2017): Combined carbohydrates support rich communities of particle-associated marine bacterioplankton , Frontiers in Microbiology . doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00065

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