Bacterioplankton Zonation Does Exist in High Elevation, Polymictic Lakes

Aguilar, Pablo; Vila, Irma; Sommaruga, Ruben


The assessment of distribution patterns or zonation of planktonic microbes along the water column is a crucial step to interpret their function in the ecosystem. In lakes without seasonal thermal stratification or polymictic systems such as high elevation tropical lakes, planktonic bacterial taxa are probably homogeneously distributed in the water column in contrast to what is known for thermally stratified lakes. However, we know little about bacterial distribution patterns in polymictic lakes and their relation to environmental gradients other than temperature. Here we assessed the diversity, microdiversity, and bacterial community composition at different discrete depths in three high elevation lakes (4,400-4,550 m above sea level) from the Andean plateau to test whether bacterial zonation patterns exist along the water column. For this objective, we analyzed bulk DNA and the putatively active fraction (cDNA) of the 16S rRNA gene. Although a clear gradient of temperature and oxygen was not detected along the water column, a significant vertical spatial zonation of the bacterial communities was present in two out of the three lakes, with microdiversity contributing to such pattern. Our results provide a reference for understanding how changing environmental conditions could affect high elevation aquatic ecosystems, particularly when warming is amplified with elevation, accelerating changes in hydrological regimes and biodiversity. Finally, our results highlight the importance of incorporating the whole water column in ecological studies of aquatic ecosystems lacking temporal or permanent thermal stratification.

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Título según WOS: Bacterioplankton Zonation Does Exist in High Elevation, Polymictic Lakes
Volumen: 13
Editorial: Frontiers
Fecha de publicación: 2022


Notas: ISI