Original Article

Microbial Ecology

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 425-434

First online:

The Diversity of Bacterial Communities Associated with Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua

  • Bryan WilsonAffiliated withSchool of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, University College DublinSchool of Biological and Environmental Science, University College Dublin
  • , Bret S. DanilowiczAffiliated withSchool of Biological and Environmental Science, University College DublinCollege of Science and Technology, Georgia Southern University
  • , Wim G. MeijerAffiliated withSchool of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, University College Dublin Email author 

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Abstract

The spatial and temporal changes in the bacterial communities associated with the Atlantic cod Gadus morhua were investigated using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of 16S recombinant DNA (rDNA). Epidermal mucous was sampled from 366 cod caught in three harvest locations (Baltic, Icelandic, and North Seas) over three seasons (spring 2002, autumn 2002, and spring 2003), and an automated method for the high-throughput processing of environmental samples was developed using a Qiagen BioRobot. The analysis revealed that a diverse consortium of bacteria were found on fish; γ-proteobacteria and CytophagaFlavobacterBacteroides (CFB) species were dominant. T-RFLP peak profiles suggested that operational taxonomic units (OTUs) related to Photobacterium sp., Psychrobacter sp., and Bacteroides sp. were common to all sites in all three seasons, but there were intersite variations in community composition. Cod caught from different seas had distinct reproducible bacterial assemblages. Whereas communities from fish caught in the Baltic and Icelandic Seas were relatively stable over the three seasons, those from fish from the North Sea changed significantly over time.