The green macroalga Dictyosphaeria ocellata influences the structure of the bacterioplankton community through differential effects on individual bacterial phylotypes

Authors

  • Jennifer M. Sneed,

    1. Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Analytics/Bioorganic Analytics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany
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  • Georg Pohnert

    1. Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Analytics/Bioorganic Analytics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany
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  • Editor: Riks Laanbroek

Correspondence: Georg Pohnert, Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Analytics/Bioorganic Analytics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Lessingstr. 8 D-07743, Jena, Germany. Tel.: +49 3641 948 170; fax: +49 3641 948 172; e-mail: georg.pohnert@uni-jena.de

Abstract

Marine macroalgae are subjected to large numbers of bacteria in their environment. These bacteria have the potential to affect the health and ecology of algae in a variety of ways and can be both beneficial and harmful to the algae. Therefore, algae have likely evolved mechanisms to differentially regulate the growth of bacterial species. In this study, we examined the effects of the green alga Dictyosphaeria ocellata on the bacterioplankton community in field enclosure experiments and on individual, naturally co-occurring bacterial strains in laboratory co-culture experiments. In field experiments, we compared the bacterioplankton communities of enclosures with and without D. ocellata using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and found that the alga significantly changed the bacterial community composition. Seven bacterial phylotypes were eliminated in the presence of the alga and five were found exclusively with the alga. We also examined the effects of algal-treated water on the development of the bacterial community within enclosures and found no change in the community composition. Laboratory co-culture experiments revealed that D. ocellata and D. ocellata extracts affect the growth of individual bacterial strains in a species-specific manner and that the mechanisms responsible for these effects also differed by bacterial species.

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