Microbial Ecology

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 383–389

Relationship of Geographic Distance, Depth, Temperature, and Viruses with Prokaryotic Communities in the Eastern Tropical Atlantic Ocean

  • Christian Winter
  • Markus M. Moeseneder
  • Gerhard J. Herndl
  • Markus G. Weinbauer
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-007-9343-x

Cite this article as:
Winter, C., Moeseneder, M.M., Herndl, G.J. et al. Microb Ecol (2008) 56: 383. doi:10.1007/s00248-007-9343-x


The richness and biogeographical distribution pattern of bacterial and archaeal communities was assessed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified fragments of the 16S rRNA gene at the surface (15–25 m depth), in the deep chlorophyll maximum layer (DCM; 50 m depth), and deep waters (75–1000 m depth) of the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, prokaryotic and viral abundance and the frequency of infected prokaryotic cells (FIC) were determined along with physico-chemical parameters to identify factors influencing prokaryotic richness and biogeography. Viral abundance was highest in the DCM layer averaging 45.5 × 106 ml−1, whereas in the mixed surface layer and in the waters below the DCM, average viral abundance was 11.3 × 106 and 4.3 × 106 ml−1, respectively. The average estimate of FIC was 8.3% in the mixed surface layer and the DCM and 2.4% in deeper waters. FIC was positively related to prokaryotic and viral abundance and negatively to archaeal richness. There was no detectable effect of geographic distance (maximum distance between stations ∼4600 km) or differences between water masses on bacterial and archaeal community composition. Bacterial communities showed a clear depth zonation, whereas changes in archaeal community composition were related to temperature and FIC. The results indicate that planktonic archaeal virus host systems are a dynamic component of marine ecosystems under natural conditions.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Winter
    • 1
  • Markus M. Moeseneder
    • 2
  • Gerhard J. Herndl
    • 3
  • Markus G. Weinbauer
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.University of British Columbia, EOS-OceanographyVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Dept. of Freshwater EcologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Dept. Biological OceanographyRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchTexelThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Laboratoire d’ Océanographie de VillefrancheUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6Villefranche-sur-Mer CEDEXFrance
  5. 5.Microbial Ecology and Biogeochemistry Group, CNRSLaboratoire d’Océanographie de VillefrancheVillefranche-sur-Mer CEDEXFrance

Personalised recommendations