Microbial Ecology

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 683–699 | Cite as

Species-Specific Bacterial Communities in the Phycosphere of Microalgae?

  • Melanie SappEmail author
  • Anne S. Schwaderer
  • Karen H. Wiltshire
  • Hans-Georg Hoppe
  • Gunnar Gerdts
  • Antje Wichels


Specific associations of bacteria with phytoplankton have recently been reported in the literature. In our study, we analyzed bacterial communities of microalgal cultures related to algal growth phases. Seven freshly isolated key diatom and dinoflagellate species from Helgoland Roads, North Sea, were investigated. The community composition of associated bacteria as well as the cell numbers, the photosynthetic efficiency of the algae, and the depletion of inorganic nutrients in the medium were recorded over a period of 8 weeks in batch cultures. Diversity and succession of bacterial communities was analyzed by ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of bacterial populations was performed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA genes followed by DNA sequence analysis. Members of Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria and the Flavobacteria–Sphingobacteria group within the Bacteroidetes phylum predominated in the cultures. Differences in free-living and attached bacterial populations were observed between the phylogenetic groups. Shifts in the bacterial communities could not be correlated to changes of nutrient levels or algal growth phases. Regarding our results, it should not be generalized that the compositions of the bacterial communities are strictly species specific for microalgae. The importance of factors like the composition of exudates is apparent.


Bacterial Community Microalgae Dinoflagellate Gammaproteobacteria Alphaproteobacteria 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful for the initial isolation of microalgae by M. Hoppenrath. We would like to thank K.-W. Klings, H. Döpke, and the crew members of the research vessel Aade from the Biologische Anstalt Helgoland for their assistance. This work is part of the Helgoland Foodweb program in the Coastal Diversity program of the Alfred Wegener Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie Sapp
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne S. Schwaderer
    • 1
  • Karen H. Wiltshire
    • 1
  • Hans-Georg Hoppe
    • 2
  • Gunnar Gerdts
    • 1
  • Antje Wichels
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute Foundation for Polar and Marine Research, Biologische Anstalt HelgolandHelgolandGermany
  2. 2.IFM-GEOMAR Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences, Marine MicrobiologyKielGermany

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