Coherent dynamics and association networks among lake bacterioplankton taxa

ISME J. 2012 Feb;6(2):330-42. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2011.113. Epub 2011 Sep 1.


Bacteria have important roles in freshwater food webs and in the cycling of elements in the ecosystem. Yet specific ecological features of individual phylogenetic groups and interactions among these are largely unknown. We used 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes to study associations of different bacterioplankton groups to environmental characteristics and their co-occurrence patterns over an annual cycle in a dimictic lake. Clear seasonal succession of the bacterioplankton community was observed. After binning of sequences into previously described and highly resolved phylogenetic groups (tribes), their temporal dynamics revealed extensive synchrony and associations with seasonal events such as ice coverage, ice-off, mixing and phytoplankton blooms. Coupling between closely and distantly related tribes was resolved by time-dependent rank correlations, suggesting ecological coherence that was often dependent on taxonomic relatedness. Association networks with the abundant freshwater Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria in focus revealed complex interdependencies within bacterioplankton communities and contrasting linkages to environmental conditions. Accordingly, unique ecological features can be inferred for each tribe and reveal the natural history of abundant cultured and uncultured freshwater bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / genetics
  • Actinobacteria / physiology
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem*
  • Genes, rRNA / genetics
  • Lakes / microbiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plankton / classification
  • Plankton / genetics
  • Plankton / physiology*
  • Proteobacteria / genetics
  • Proteobacteria / physiology
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S