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Changes in bacterial community metabolism and composition during the degradation of dissolved organic matter from the jellyfish Aurelia aurita in a Mediterranean coastal lagoon

By M. Blanchet, Olivier Pringault, Marc Bouvy, P. Catala, L. Oriol, J. Caparros, E. Ortega-Retuerta, L. Intertaglia, N. West, M. Agis, P. Got and F. Joux


Spatial increases and temporal shifts in outbreaks of gelatinous plankton have been observed over the past several decades in many estuarine and coastal ecosystems. The effects of these blooms on marine ecosystem functioning and particularly on the dynamics of the heterotrophic bacteria are still unclear. The response of the bacterial community from a Mediterranean coastal lagoon to the addition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from the jellyfish Aurelia aurita, corresponding to an enrichment of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) by 1.4, was assessed for 22 days in microcosms (8 l). The high bioavailability of this material led to (i) a rapid mineralization of the DOC and dissolved organic nitrogen from the jellyfish and (ii) the accumulation of high concentrations of ammonium and orthophosphate in the water column. DOM from jellyfish greatly stimulated heterotrophic prokaryotic production and respiration rates during the first 2 days; then, these activities showed a continuous decay until reaching those measured in the control microcosms (lagoon water only) at the end of the experiment. Bacterial growth efficiency remained below 20 %, indicating that most of the DOM was respired and a minor part was channeled to biomass production. Changes in bacterial diversity were assessed by tag pyrosequencing of partial bacterial 16S rRNA genes, DNA fingerprints, and a cultivation approach. While bacterial diversity in control microcosms showed little changes during the experiment, the addition of DOM from the jellyfish induced a rapid growth of Pseudoalteromonas and Vibrio species that were isolated. After 9 days, the bacterial community was dominated by Bacteroidetes, which appeared more adapted to metabolize high-molecular-weight DOM. At the end of the experiment, the bacterial community shifted toward a higher proportion of Alphaproteobacteria. Resilience of the bacterial community after the addition of DOM from the jellyfish was higher for metabolic functions than diversity, suggesting that jellyfish blooms can induce durable changes in the bacterial community structure in coastal lagoons

Topics: Aurelia aurita, Jellyfish, Organic matter, Heterotrophic bacteria, Biodegradation, Bacterial growth efficiency, Bacterial diversity
Year: 2015
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