Preliminary studies of cyanobacteria, picoplankton, and virioplankton in the Salton Sea with special attention to phylogenetic diversity among eight strains of filamentous cyanobacteria

A. Michelle Wood, Scott R. Miller, W. K.W. Li, Richard W. Castenholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cyanobacterial diversity in the Salton Sea, a high-salinity, eutrophic lake in Southern California, was investigated using a combination of molecular and morphological approaches. Representatives of a total of 10 described genera (Oscillatoria, Spirulina, Arthrospira, Geitlerinema, Lyngbya, Leptolyngbya, Calothrix, Rivularia, Synechococcus, Synechocystis) were identified in the samples; additionally, the morphology of two cultured strains do not conform to any genus recognized at present by the bacteriological system. Genetic analysis, based on partial 16S rRNA sequences suggested considerable cryptic genetic variability among filamentous strains of similar or identical morphology and showed members of the form-genus Geitlerinema to be distributed among three major phylogenetic clades of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacterial mats, previously described from the Sea were, in fact, composed of both filamentous cyanobacteria and a roughly equivalent biomass of the sulfur-oxidizing bacterium Beggiatoa, indicating their formation in sulfide rich regions of the lake. Flow cytometric analysis of the water samples showed three striking differences between samples from the Salton Sea and representative marine waters: (1) phycoerythrin-containing unicells, while abundant, were much less abundant in the Salton Sea than they were in typical continental shelf waters, (2) Prochlorococcus appears to be completely absent, and (3) small (3-5 μm) eukaryotic algae were more abundant in the Salton Sea than in typical neritic waters by one-to-two orders-of-magnitude. Based on flow cytometric analysis, heterotrophic bacteria were more than an order of magnitude more abundant in the Salton Sea than in seawater collected from continental shelf environments. Virus particles were more abundant in the Salton Sea than in typical neritic waters, but did not show increases proportionate with the increase in bacteria, picocyanobacteria, or eukaryotic algae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-92
Number of pages16
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume473
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2002

Keywords

  • Beggiatoa
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Flow cytometry
  • Geitlerinema
  • Microbial mats
  • Molecular systematics
  • Oscillatoria
  • Phylogeny
  • Picoplankton
  • Saline lake
  • Ultraplankton
  • Viruses

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