Journal Article

Spatially differing bacterial communities in water columns of the northern Baltic Sea

Kaisa Koskinen, Jenni Hultman, Lars Paulin, Petri Auvinen and Harri Kankaanpää

in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Volume 75, issue 1, pages 99-110
Published in print January 2011 |
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1574-6941 | DOI:

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The Baltic Sea is a large, shallow, and strongly stratified brackish water basin. It suffers from eutrophication, toxic cyanobacterial blooms, and oxygen depletion, all of which pose a threat to local marine communities. In this study, the diversity and community structure of the northern Baltic Sea bacterial communities in the water column were, for the first time, thoroughly studied by 454 sequencing. The spring and autumn bacterial communities were one order of magnitude less diverse than those in recently studied oceanic habitats. Patchiness and strong stratification were clearly detectable; <1% of operational taxonomic units were shared among 11 samples. The community composition was more uniform horizontally (at a fixed depth) between different sites than vertically within one sampling site, implying that the community structure was affected by prevailing physical and hydrochemical conditions. Taxonomic affiliations revealed a total of 23 bacterial classes and 169 genera, while 5% of the sequences remained unclassified. The cyanobacteria accounted for <2% of the sequences, and potentially toxic cyanobacterial genera were essentially absent during the sampling seasons.

Keywords: Baltic Sea; bacteria; community structure; water column; stratification; 454 sequencing

Journal Article.  7030 words.  Illustrated.

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