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Distribution of free-living and particle-attached aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in marine environments

Abstract : Aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AAP) bacteria are bacteriochlorophyll a-containing prokaryotes which can use both light and organic compounds as energy sources. This functional group is ubiquitous in the euphotic zone of the oceans. Nevertheless, life strategies, distribution pat- terns and physiology of AAP bacteria remain largely unknown. We combined infrared fluorometry, microscopic counts and HPLC pigment analysis to characterize free-living and particle-attached AAP bacterial populations. Using a size-fractionation approach, we found that the size distribution of AAP bacteria and the fraction of particle-attached cells varied greatly among different marine environ- ments. In the open sea environments (Atlantic Ocean, offshore Mediterranean Sea), the main portion of AAP bacterial fluorescence was in the <0.8 μm fraction, which indicates that the majority of AAP bacteria in these regions were free-living cells <0.8 μm. In these environments, only a few particle- attached AAP bacteria were found. In coastal Mediterranean waters, the fraction of larger cells increased together with a few particle-attached cells, but >50% of AAP bacteria were free living. In a coastal lagoon and in the deep chlorophyll a maximum at an offshore Mediterranean station, parti- cle-attached AAP bacteria formed up to half of the AAP bacterial community. The results presented here suggest that AAP bacteria can take on either free-living or particle-attached lifestyles depend- ing on environmental conditions.
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Contributor : Raphaël Lami <>
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Raphaël Lami, Z Âuperová, J. Ras, P. Lebaron, M Koblíïek. Distribution of free-living and particle-attached aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in marine environments. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Inter Research, 2009, 55, pp.31-38. ⟨10.3354/ame01282⟩. ⟨hal-02906984⟩



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