Coastal phytoplankton blooms are frequently followed by successive blooms of heterotrophic bacterial clades. The class Flavobacteriia within the Bacteroidetes has been shown to play an important role in the degradation of high molecular weight substrates that become available in the later stages of such blooms. One of the flavobacterial clades repeatedly observed over the course of several years during phytoplankton blooms off the coast of Helgoland, North Sea, is Vis6. This genus-level clade belongs to the family Cryomorphaceae and has been resistant to cultivation to date. Based on metagenome assembled genomes, comparative 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses and fluorescence in situ hybridization, we here propose a novel candidate genus Abditibacter, comprising three novel species Candidatus Abditibacter vernus, Candidatus Abditibacter forsetii and Candidatus Abditibacter autumni. While the small genomes of the three novel photoheterotrophic species encode highly similar gene repertoires, including genes for degradation of proteins and algal storage polysaccharides such as laminarin, two of them - Ca. A. vernus and Ca. A. forsetii - seem to have a preference for spring blooms, while Ca. A. autumni almost exclusively occurs in late summer and autumn.
Keywords: Helgoland; North Sea; Vis6; bacterioplankton; metagenome assembled genome.
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