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Microb Ecol. 2012 Apr;63(3):543-51. doi: 10.1007/s00248-011-9990-9. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Seasonal dynamics and modeling of a Vibrio community in coastal waters of the North Sea.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, HU6 7RX, Hull, UK.


Vibrio species are ubiquitously distributed in marine waters all over the world. High genome plasticity due to frequent mutation, recombination, and lateral gene transfer enables Vibrio to adapt rapidly to environmental changes. The genus Vibrio comprises several human pathogens, which commonly cause outbreaks of severe diarrhea in tropical regions. In recent years, pathogenic Vibrio emerged also in coastal European waters. Little is known about factors driving the proliferation of Vibrio spp. in temperate waters such as the North Sea. In this study a quantification of Vibrio in the North Sea and their response to biotic and abiotic parameters were assessed. Between January and December 2009, Vibrio at Helgoland Roads (North Sea, Germany) were quantified using fluorescence in situ hybridization. Vibrio numbers up to 3.4 × 10(4) cells × mL(-1) (2.2% of total microbial counts) were determined in summer, but their abundance was significantly lower in winter (5 × 10(2) cells × mL(-1)). Correlations between Vibrio and nutrients (SiO(2), PO(4) (3-), DIN), Secchi depth, temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll a were calculated using Spearman rank analysis. Multiple stepwise regression analysis was carried out to analyze the additive influence of multiple factors on Vibrio. Based on these calculations, we found that high water temperature and low salinity best explained the increase of Vibrio cell numbers. Other environmental parameters, especially nutrients and chlorophyll a, also had an influence. All variables were shown to be subject to the overall seasonal dynamics at Helgoland Roads. Multiple regression models could represent an efficient and reliable tool to predict Vibrio abundances in response to the climate change in European waters.

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