Topping, J.N., Heywood, J.L., Ward, P. and Zubkov, M.V.
Bacterioplankton composition in the Scotia Sea, Antarctica, during the austral summer of 2003
Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 45, (3), .
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Physical ocean processes (ice-melt, island run-off and upwelling of nutrients) were
hypothesised to affect the bacterioplankton composition in the surface mixed layer of the Scotia Sea
during the austral summer of 2003, and this was investigated using flow cytometry and catalysed
reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridisation (CARD-FISH) techniques. The bacterioplankton
was composed predominantly of Alphaproteobacteria (PB), comprising SAR11, Roseobacter
spp. and SAR116 groups, followed by Sphingobacteria/Flavobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria,
including SAR86. Two distinct bacterioplankton communities were identified, largely based on bacterioplankton
abundance, which varied from 0.3 ± 0.06 × 106 cells ml–1 in the west to 0.8 ± 0.3 × 106
cells ml–1 in the east, and a corresponding difference in SAR11 percentages of 30 ± 15% in the west
compared to 5 ± 5% in the east. The western community was present in waters that were largely in
an over-wintered, pre-bloom condition. The eastern bacterioplankton community was associated
with phytoplankton blooms developed within the eastern Scotia Sea nutrient upwelling zone, where
the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) encounters the shallow bathymetry associated with the
Scotia Arc, in combination with seasonal ice-melt and island effects that enabled surface water
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