Polar Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 10, pp 1749–1763 | Cite as

Springtime dynamics, productivity and activity of prokaryotes in two Arctic fjords

  • A. M.-T. Piquet
  • D. S. Maat
  • V. Confurius-Guns
  • E. Sintes
  • G. J. Herndl
  • W. H. van de Poll
  • C. Wiencke
  • A. G. J. Buma
  • H. BolhuisEmail author
Original Paper


In the Kongsfjorden–Krossfjorden system (Spitsbergen), increasing temperatures enhance glacier melting and concomitant intrusion of freshwater. These altered conditions affect the timing, intensity, and composition of the phytoplankton spring bloom in Kongsfjorden; yet, the effects on prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) are not well understood. The aim of this study was to examine springtime prokaryote communities in both fjords as a function of hydrographic and phytoplankton variability. Prokaryote community composition was studied in two consecutive years by molecular fingerprinting of the 16S rRNA gene. In addition, we measured bacterial abundance, productivity (3H-Leucine uptake), and single-cell activity using catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridization combined with microautoradiography. Differences in bacterial and archaeal communities were found between Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden. Furthermore, an increase in productivity, abundance, and proportion of active bacterial cells was observed during the course of spring. Bacteroidetes were the most abundant bacterial group among the assessed taxa in both Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden. Multivariate analysis of the microbial community fingerprints revealed a strong temporal shaping of both the bacterial and archaeal communities in addition to a spatial separation between the two fjords. A significant part of the observed bacterial variation could be explained by cyanobacterial biomass, as deduced from pigment analysis, and by phosphate concentration. Archaea were mainly controlled by abiotic factors. We speculate that the bacterial response to hydrographic changes and glacier meltwater is mediated through shifts in phytoplankton abundance and composition, whereas archaea are directly influenced by abiotic environmental variables.


Polar Spitsbergen Bacteria Archaea Glacier melting Spring bloom Bacterial production Micro-CARD-FISH 



This research was financed by NWO, as part of the IPY–PAME framework. Fieldwork at Koldeway station was supported and financed by the AWI. We thank A. K. Olstad, captain of the RV Teisten, and E. Austerheim, Kings Bay laboratory manager, for the wonderful collaboration. We are grateful to R. J. W. Visser for collecting the 2007 samples and running phytoplankton pigment analyses. Nutrients were analyzed at the NIOZ by J. van Ooijen. We also acknowledge Michael Greenacre (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain) for his valuable help with the ordination and statistical analysis. We also like to thank the anonymous referees for their valuable suggestions and improvements.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M.-T. Piquet
    • 1
  • D. S. Maat
    • 2
  • V. Confurius-Guns
    • 3
  • E. Sintes
    • 4
  • G. J. Herndl
    • 2
    • 4
  • W. H. van de Poll
    • 1
  • C. Wiencke
    • 5
  • A. G. J. Buma
    • 1
    • 6
  • H. Bolhuis
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Ocean Ecosystems, Energy and Sustainability Research Institute GroningenUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Biological OceanographyRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchDen Burg, TexelThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Marine MicrobiologyRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchYersekeThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Limnology and Bio-OceanographyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  5. 5.Department of Functional EcologyAlfred Wegener InstituteBremerhavenGermany
  6. 6.Arctic CentreUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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