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Front Microbiol. 2015 Feb 10;6:64. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00064. eCollection 2015.

Phylogenetic shifts of bacterioplankton community composition along the Pearl Estuary: the potential impact of hypoxia and nutrients.

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College of Marine Life Sciences, Ocean University of China Qingdao, China.
Key Laboratory of Marine Chemistry Theory and Technology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China Qingdao, China.
State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, Xiamen University Xiamen, China ; School of Bioengineering, Jimei University Xiamen, China.


The significance of salinity in shaping bacterial communities dwelling in estuarine areas has been well documented. However, the influences of other environmental factors such as dissolved oxygen and nutrients in determining distribution patterns of both individual taxa and bacterial communities inhabited local estuarine regions remain elusive. Here, bacterioplankton community structures of surface and bottom waters from eight sites along the Pearl Estuary were characterized with 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. The results showed significant differences of bacterioplankton community between freshwater and saltwater sites, and further between surface and bottom waters of saltwater sites. Synechococcus dominated the surface water of saltwater sites while Oceanospirillales, SAR11 and SAR406 were prevalent in the bottom water. Betaproteobacteria was abundant in freshwater sites, with no significant difference between water layers. Occurrence of phylogenetic shifts in taxa affiliated to the same clade was also detected. Dissolved oxygen explained most of the bacterial community variation in the redundancy analysis targeting only freshwater sites, whereas nutrients and salinity explained most of the variation across all samples in the Pearl Estuary. Methylophilales (mainly PE2 clade) was positively correlated to dissolved oxygen, whereas Rhodocyclales (mainly R.12up clade) was negatively correlated. Moreover, high nutrient inputs to the freshwater area of the Pearl Estuary have shifted the bacterial communities toward copiotrophic groups, such as Sphingomonadales. The present study demonstrated that the overall nutrients and freshwater hypoxia play important roles in determining bacterioplankton compositions and provided insights into the potential ecological roles of specific taxa in estuarine environments.


16S rRNA gene; 454 pyrosequencing; Pearl Estuary; bacterial community; hypoxia

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