Microbial Ecology

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 125–143 | Cite as

Diversity and Cyclical Seasonal Transitions in the Bacterial Community in a Large and Deep Perialpine Lake

  • Nico SalmasoEmail author
  • Davide Albanese
  • Camilla Capelli
  • Adriano Boscaini
  • Massimo Pindo
  • Claudio Donati
Microbiology of Aquatic Systems


High-throughput sequencing (HTS) was used to analyze the seasonal variations in the bacterioplankton community composition (BCC) in the euphotic layer of a large and deep lake south of the Alps (Lake Garda). The BCC was analyzed throughout two annual cycles by monthly samplings using the amplification and sequencing of the V3–V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene by the MiSeq Illumina platform. The dominant and most diverse bacterioplankton phyla were among the more frequently reported in freshwater ecosystems, including the Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Verrucomicrobia, Actinobacteria, and Planctomycetes. As a distinctive feature, the development of the BCC showed a cyclical temporal pattern in the two analyzed years and throughout the euphotic layer. The recurring temporal development was controlled by the strong seasonality in water temperature and thermal stratification, and by cyclical temporal changes in nutrients and, possibly, by the remarkable annual cyclical development of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic phytoplankton hosting bacterioplankton that characterizes Lake Garda. Further downstream analyses of operational taxonomic units associated to cyanobacteria allowed confirming the presence of the most abundant taxa previously identified by microscopy and/or phylogenetic analyses, as well as the presence of other small Synechococcales/Chroococcales and rare Nostocales never identified so far in the deep lakes south of the Alps. The implications of the high diversity and strong seasonality are relevant, opening perspectives for the definition of common and discriminating patterns characterizing the temporal and spatial distribution in the BCC, and for the application of the new sequencing technologies in the monitoring of water quality in large and deep lakes.


Bacterioplankton Cyanobacteria High-throughput sequencing Metagenomic Temporal cyclical patterns Deep lakes 



Investigations were carried out in the framework of the LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) Italian network, site Southern Alpine lakes, IT08-000-A (, with the support of the ARPA Veneto (Giorgio Franzini and colleagues). We thank our colleagues in FEM, in particular Lorena Ress, Milva Tarter and Andrea Zampedri, for their support in the field and/or laboratory activities. We are grateful to Veronica De Sanctis and Roberto Bertorelli (NGS Facility at the Centre for Integrative Biology and LaBSSAH, University of Trento) for HTS analyses and helpful discussions. The activity was supported by a PhD fellowship (FIRS>T) to C.C. from the E. Mach Foundation – Istituto Agrario di S. Michele all’Adige. We thank the European Cooperation in Science and Technology COST Action ES1105 CYANOCOST for networking and knowledge transfer support. We are grateful to three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and suggestions on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

248_2017_1120_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 3270 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach (FEM)San Michele all’AdigeItaly

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