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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2014 Jul;356(1):118-26. doi: 10.1111/1574-6968.12490. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Distribution and diversity of Prochlorococcus ecotypes in the Red Sea.

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Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.


Photosynthetic prokaryotes of the genus Prochlorococcus play a major role in global primary production in the world's oligotrophic oceans. A recent study on pelagic bacterioplankton communities in the northern and central Red Sea indicated that the predominant cyanobacterial 16S rRNA gene sequence types were from Prochlorococcus cells belonging to a high-light-adapted ecotype (HL II). In this study, we analyzed microdiversity of Prochlorococcus sp. at multiple depths within and below the euphotic zone in the northern, central, and southern regions of the Red Sea, as well as in surface waters in the same locations, but in a different season. Prochlorococcus dominated the communities in clone libraries of the amplified 16S-23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Almost no differences were found between samples from coastal or open-water sites, but a high diversity of Prochlorococcus ecotypes was detected at 100-meter depth in the water column. In addition, an unusual dominance of HL II-related sequences was observed in deeper waters. Our results indicate that the Red Sea harbors diverse Prochlorococcus lineages, but no novel ecotypes, despite its unusual physicochemical properties.


Prochlorococcus; Red Sea; diversity; ecotypes; rRNA; rRNA internal transcribed spacer

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