Spatiotemporal dynamics of the bacterial microbiota on lacustrine Cladophora glomerata (Chlorophyta)

J Phycol. 2017 Dec;53(6):1255-1262. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12573. Epub 2017 Sep 11.


The branched periphytic green alga Cladophora glomerata, often abundant in nearshore waters of lakes and rivers worldwide, plays important ecosystem roles, some mediated by epibiotic microbiota that benefit from host-provided surface, organic C, and O2 . Previous microscopy and high-throughput sequencing studies have indicated surprising epibiont taxonomic and functional diversity, but have not included adequate consideration of sample replication or the potential for spatial and temporal variation. Here, we report the results of 16S rRNA amplicon-based phylum-to-genus taxonomic analysis of Cladophora-associated bacterial epibiota sampled in replicate from three microsites and at six times during the open-water season of 2014, from the same lake locale (Picnic Point, Lake Mendota, Dane Co., WI, USA) explored by high-throughput sequencing studies in two previous years. Statistical methods were used to test null hypotheses that the bacterial community: (i) is homogeneous across microsites tested, and (ii) does not change over the course of a growth season or among successive years. Results indicated a dynamic microbial community that is more strongly influenced by sampling day during the growth season than by microsite variation. A surprising diversity of bacterial genera known to be associated with the key function of methane-oxidation (methanotrophy), including relatively high-abundance of Crenothrix, Methylomonas, Methylovulum, and Methylocaldum-showed intraseasonal and interannual variability possibly related to temperature differences, and microsite preferences possibly related to variation in methane abundance. By contrast, a core assemblage of bacterial genera seems to persist over a growth season and from year to year, possibly transmitted by a persistent attached host resting stage.

Keywords: Cladophora; epibacterial diversity; microbiota; spatiotemporal dynamics.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Chlorophyta / microbiology*
  • Lakes / microbiology*
  • Microbiota*
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Wisconsin


  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S