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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Apr;72(4):2679-90.

Comparison of vertical distributions of prokaryotic assemblages in the anoxic Cariaco Basin and Black Sea by use of fluorescence in situ hybridization.

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  • 1Marine Sciences Research Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000, USA. xulin@ic.sunysb.edu


Individual prokaryotic cells from two major anoxic basins, the Cariaco Basin and the Black Sea, were enumerated throughout their water columns using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with the fluorochrome Cy3 or horseradish peroxidase-modified oligonucleotide probes. For both basins, significant differences in total prokaryotic abundance and phylogenetic composition were observed among oxic, anoxic, and transitional (redoxcline) waters. Epsilon-proteobacteria, Crenarchaeota, and Euryarchaeota were more prevalent in the redoxclines, where previous studies reported high rates of chemoautotrophic production relative to those in waters above and below the redoxclines. Relative abundances of Archaea in both systems varied between 1% and 28% of total prokaryotes, depending on depth. The prokaryotic community composition varied between the two anoxic basins, consistent with distinct geochemical and physical conditions. In the Black Sea, the relative contributions of group I Crenarchaeota (median, 5.5%) to prokaryotic communities were significantly higher (P < 0.001; n = 20) than those of group II Euryarchaeota (median, 2.9%). In contrast, their proportions were nearly equivalent in the Cariaco Basin. Beta-proteobacteria were unexpectedly common throughout the Cariaco Basin's water column, accounting for an average of 47% of 4',6'-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI)-stained cells. This group was below the detection limit (<1%) in the Black Sea samples. Compositional differences between basins may reflect temporal variability in microbial populations and/or systematic differences in environmental conditions and the populations for which they select.

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