Lake superior supports novel clusters of cyanobacterial picoplankton
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Very little is known about the biodiversity of freshwater autotrophic picoplankton (APP) in the Laurentian Great Lakes, a system comprising 20% of the world's lacustrine freshwater. In this study, the genetic diversity of Lake Superior APP was examined by analyzing 16S rRNA gene and cpcBA PCR amplicons from water samples. By neighbor joining, the majority of 16S rRNA gene sequences clustered within the "picocyanobacterial clade" consisting of freshwater and marine Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus. Two new groups of Synechococcus spp., the pelagic Lake Superior clusters I and II, do not group with any of the known freshwater picocyanobacterial clusters and were the most abundant species (50 to 90% of the sequences) in samples collected from offshore Lake Superior stations. Conversely, at station Portage Deep (PD), located in a nearshore urbanized area, only 4% of the sequences belonged to these clusters and the remaining clones reflected the freshwater Synechococcus diversity described previously at sites throughout the world. Supporting the 16S rRNA gene data, the cpcBA library from nearshore station PD revealed a cosmopolitan diversity, whereas the majority of the cpcBA sequences (97.6%) from pelagic station CD1 fell within a unique Lake Superior cluster. Thus far, these picocyanobacteria have not been cultured, although their phylogenetic assignment suggests that they are phycoerythrin (PE) rich, consistent with the observation that PE-rich APP dominate Lake Superior picoplankton. Lastly, flow cytometry revealed that the summertime APP can exceed 105 cells ml-1 and suggests that the APP shifts from a community of PE and phycocyanin-rich picocyanobacteria and picoeukaryotes in winter to a PE-rich community in summer. Copyright © 2007, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Ivanikova, Natalia V.; Popels, Linda C.; McKay, R. Michael L.; and Bullerjahn, George S.. (2007). Lake superior supports novel clusters of cyanobacterial picoplankton. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73 (12), 4055-4065.