, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 391-405
Date: 14 Aug 2003

Temporal Patterns in Bacterial Communities in Three Temperate Lakes of Different Trophic Status

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Despite considerable attention in recent years, the composition and dynamics of lake bacterial communities over annual time scales are poorly understood. This study used automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) to explore the patterns of change in lake bacterial communities in three temperate lakes over 2 consecutive years. The study lakes included a humic lake, an oligotrophic lake, and a eutrophic lake, and the epilimnetic bacterial communities were sampled every 2 weeks. The patterns of change in bacterial communities indicated that seasonal forces were important in structuring the behavior of the bacterial communities in each lake. All three lakes had relatively stable community composition in spring and fall, but summer changes were dramatic. Summertime variability was often characterized by recurrent drops in bacterial diversity. Specific ARISA fragments derived from these lakes were not constant among lakes or from year to year, and those fragments that did recur in lakes in different years did not exhibit the same seasonal pattern of recurrence. Nonetheless, seasonal patterns observed in 2000 were fairly successful predictors of the rate of change in bacterial communities and in the degree of autocorrelation of bacterial communities in 2001. Thus, seasonal forces may be important structuring elements of these systems as a whole even if they are uncoupled from the dynamics of the individual system components.