A survey on bacteria inhabiting the sea surface microlayer of coastal ecosystems

Abstract : Bacterial populations inhabiting the sea surface microlayer from two contrasted Mediterranean coastal stations (polluted vs. oligotrophic) were examined by culturing and genetic fingerprinting methods and were compared with those of underlying waters (50 cm depth), for a period of two years. More than 30 samples were examined and 487 strains were isolated and screened. Prote-obacteria were consistently more abundant in the collection from the pristine environment whereas Gram-positive bacteria (i.e., Actinobacteria and Firmicutes) were more abundant in the polluted site. Cythophaga-Flavobacter–Bacteroides (CFB) ranged from 8% to 16% of total strains. Overall, 22.5% of the strains showed a 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity only at the genus level with previously reported bacterial species and around 10.5% of the strains showed similarities in 16S rRNA sequence below 93% with reported species. The CFB group contained the highest proportion of unknown species, but these also included Alpha-and Gamma-proteobacteria. Such low similarity values showed that we were able to culture new marine genera and possibly new families, indicating that the sea-surface layer is a poorly understood microbial environment and may represent a natural source of new microorganisms. Genetic fingerprinting showed, however, no consistent differences between the predominant bacterial assemblages from surface microlayer and underlying waters, suggesting that the presence of a stable and abundant neustonic bacterial community is not a common trait of coastal marine environments.
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Hélène Agogué, Emilio O. Casamayor, Muriel Bourrain, Ingrid Obernosterer, Fabien Joux, et al.. A survey on bacteria inhabiting the sea surface microlayer of coastal ecosystems. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2005, 54, pp.269-280. ⟨10.1016/j.femsec.2005.04.002⟩. ⟨hal-01102889⟩

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