Microbial Ecology

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 543–551 | Cite as

Seasonal Dynamics and Modeling of a Vibrio Community in Coastal Waters of the North Sea

  • Sonja OberbeckmannEmail author
  • Bernhard M. Fuchs
  • Mirja Meiners
  • Antje Wichels
  • Karen H. Wiltshire
  • Gunnar Gerdts
Environmental Microbiology


Vibrio species are ubiquitously distributed in marine waters all over the world. High genome plasticity due to frequent mutation, recombination, and lateral gene transfer enables Vibrio to adapt rapidly to environmental changes. The genus Vibrio comprises several human pathogens, which commonly cause outbreaks of severe diarrhea in tropical regions. In recent years, pathogenic Vibrio emerged also in coastal European waters. Little is known about factors driving the proliferation of Vibrio spp. in temperate waters such as the North Sea. In this study a quantification of Vibrio in the North Sea and their response to biotic and abiotic parameters were assessed. Between January and December 2009, Vibrio at Helgoland Roads (North Sea, Germany) were quantified using fluorescence in situ hybridization. Vibrio numbers up to 3.4 × 104 cells × mL−1 (2.2% of total microbial counts) were determined in summer, but their abundance was significantly lower in winter (5 × 102 cells × mL−1). Correlations between Vibrio and nutrients (SiO2, PO4 3−, DIN), Secchi depth, temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll a were calculated using Spearman rank analysis. Multiple stepwise regression analysis was carried out to analyze the additive influence of multiple factors on Vibrio. Based on these calculations, we found that high water temperature and low salinity best explained the increase of Vibrio cell numbers. Other environmental parameters, especially nutrients and chlorophyll a, also had an influence. All variables were shown to be subject to the overall seasonal dynamics at Helgoland Roads. Multiple regression models could represent an efficient and reliable tool to predict Vibrio abundances in response to the climate change in European waters.


Vibrio Multiple Regression Model Secchi Depth German Bight Vibrio Species 
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.



This work was supported by a Ph.D. grant from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. We would like to thank Kristine Carstens, Silvia Peters, and Steffi Meyer for their valuable contribution to this study. We are also very grateful for the sampling support from the crew of the RV Aade from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research Helgoland. This study was part of the Helgoland Food Web Project in the Helmholtz Program “PACES.” Part of the work was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, project “Microbial Interactions in Marine Systems—MIMAS”) and the Max Planck Society. We also would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable contribution to improve earlier versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonja Oberbeckmann
    • 3
    Email author
  • Bernhard M. Fuchs
    • 1
  • Mirja Meiners
    • 1
  • Antje Wichels
    • 2
  • Karen H. Wiltshire
    • 2
  • Gunnar Gerdts
    • 2
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Marine MicrobiologyBremenGermany
  2. 2.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchHeligolandGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of HullHullUK

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