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Environ Microbiol. 2011 Oct;13(10):2717-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2011.02540.x. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Distribution and growth of aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Institute of Microbiology CAS, Opatovický mlýn, 379 81 Třeboň, Czechia.


The distribution of aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs (AAPs) was surveyed in various regions of the Mediterranean Sea in spring and summer. These phototrophic bacteria were present within the euphotic layer at all sampled stations. The AAP abundances increased with increasing trophic status ranging from 2.5 × 10(3) cells per ml in oligotrophic Eastern Mediterranean up to 90 × 10(3) cells per ml in the Bay of Villefranche. Aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs made up on average 1-4% of total prokaryotes in low nutrient areas, whereas in coastal and more productive stations these organisms represented 3-11% of total prokaryotes. Diel bacteriochlorophyll a decay measurements showed that AAP community in the Western Mediterranean grew rapidly, at rates from 1.13 to 1.42 day(-1). The lower AAP abundances registered in the most oligotrophic waters suggest that they are relatively poor competitors under nutrient limiting conditions. Instead, AAPs appear to be metabolically active organisms, which thrive better in more eutrophic environments providing the necessary substrates to maintain high growth rates.

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