Dynamics of marine pelagic bacterial communities on the Texas-Louisiana shelf
MetadataShow full item record
Microbial community interactions within many ecosystems are still relatively unknown. Investigating links between environmental dynamics and shifting pelagic bacterial community structures on the Texas-Louisiana shelf, Eubacterial community profiles of Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) were generated using Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) of the 16S rDNA and 23S rDNA intergenic spacer region. This ITS region is highly variable in both length and sequence. Community diversity was assessed by the comparison of ARISA-generated community fingerprints of samples collected from four distinct regions along the Texas-Louisiana shelf in a cross-shelf pattern on 10m, 20m, and 40m isobaths. Incubations of samples with a thymidine analog, 5-Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), allowed for the isolation and analysis of the actively growing subset within the total bacterial population. Community composition was determined through the construction of clone libraries for sequencing and putative phyla affiliation of community 16 rRNA genes. Hydrographic data were also collected for analysis of shifts in microbial community diversity correlated with a variety of influential environmental factors. ARISA profiles of Eubacterial species richness suggest strong distinction between the two communities found within Zones A and C along the Texas-Louisiana Shelf. Further analysis of salinity gradients originating from the two main fluvial sources, the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya Rivers, identified possible sources of variation between the individual communities. Whereas composition of these communities remains discrete between regions, the active subset of the population becomes more similar across the shelf through the summer. Possibly due to undersampling of hypoxic sites, no relationship could be determined between hypoxia formation and the Eubacterial community dynamics. Several OTUs within the communities were identifiable as α - and β - Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Synechococcus, Prochlorococcus, and Cytophaga/Flavobacterium/Bacteroides. Through validation studies of 5-Bromodeoxyuridine field sampling, this study indicates the power of BrdU incorporation and ARISA analysis to study a dynamic environmental system and explore the factors that determine the structure of the pelagic community on the Texas-Louisiana Shelf.
Anitsakis, Erin Colleen (2006). Dynamics of marine pelagic bacterial communities on the Texas-Louisiana shelf. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from