Microbial Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 348–357 | Cite as

The Physical Environment Affects Cyanophage Communities in British Columbia Inlets

Article

Abstract

Little is known about the natural distribution of viruses that infect the photosynthetically important group of marine prokaryotes, the cyanobacteria. The current investigation reveals that the structure of cyanophage communities is dependent on water column structure. PCR was used to amplify a fragment of the cyanomyovirus gene (g) 20, which codes for the portal vertex protein. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR amplified g20 gene fragments was used to examine variations in cyanophage community structure in three inlets in British Columbia, Canada. Qualitative examination of denaturing gradient gels revealed cyanophage community patterns that reflected the physical structure of the water column as indicated by temperature and salinity. Based on mobility of PCR fragments in the DGGE gels, some cyanophages appeared to be widespread, while others were observed only at specific depths. Cyanophage communities within Salmon Inlet were more related to one another than to communities from either Malaspina Inlet or Pendrell Sound. As well, surface communities in Malaspina Inlet and Pendrell Sound were different when compared to communities at depth. In the same two locations, distinct differences in community composition were observed in communities that coincided with depths of high chlorophyll fluorescence. The observed community shifts over small distances (only a few meters in depth or inlets separated by less than 100 km) support the idea that cyanophage communities separated by small spatial scales develop independently of each other as a result isolation by water column stratification or land mass separation, which may ultimately lead to changes in the distribution or composition of the host community.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Frederickson
    • 1
  • S. M. Short
    • 2
  • C. A. Suttle
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Ocean SciencesUniversity of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd., Vancouver, British ColumbiaCanada, V6T 1Z4
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd., Vancouver, British ColumbiaCanada, V6T 1Z4
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of British Columbia, 6270 University Blvd., Vancouver, British ColumbiaCanada, V6T 1Z4

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