Response of bacterioplankton community structure to an artificial gradient of pCO2 in the Arctic Ocean
Abstract. In order to test the influences of ocean acidification on the ocean pelagic ecosystem, so far the largest CO2 manipulation mesocosm study (European Project on Ocean Acidification, EPOCA) was performed in Kings Bay (Kongsfjorden), Spitsbergen. During a 30 day incubation, bacterial diversity was investigated using DNA fingerprinting and clone library analysis of bacterioplankton samples. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of the PCR amplicons of the 16S rRNA genes revealed that general bacterial diversity, taxonomic richness and community structure were influenced by the variation of productivity during the time of incubation, but not the degree of ocean acidification. A BIOENV analysis suggested a complex control of bacterial community structure by various biological and chemical environmental parameters. The maximum apparent diversity of bacterioplankton (i.e., the number of T-RFs) in high and low pCO2 treatments differed significantly. A negative relationship between the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and pCO2 levels was observed for samples at the end of the experiment by the combination of T-RFLP and clone library analysis. Our study suggests that ocean acidification affects the development of bacterial assemblages and potentially impacts the ecological function of the bacterioplankton in the marine ecosystem.