Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Biogeosciences, 10, 3817–3838, 2013
Biogeosciences, 10, 3817–3838, 2013

Research article 14 Jun 2013

Research article | 14 Jun 2013

DNA from lake sediments reveals the long-term dynamics and diversity of Synechococcus assemblages

I. Domaizon1, O. Savichtcheva1, D. Debroas2, F. Arnaud3, C. Villar1, C. Pignol3, B. Alric1, and M. E. Perga1 I. Domaizon et al.
  • 1INRA – UMR42 CARRTEL, Centre Alpin de Recherche sur les Réseaux Trophiques des Ecosystèmes Limniques – 74203 Thonon-les-bains Cedex, France
  • 2Université Blaise Pascal Clermont, UMR CNRS 6023, Laboratoire "Microorganismes: Génome & Environnement", 24, av. des Landais – BP 80026-63171 Aubière Cedex, France
  • 3CNRS Université de Savoie, UMR5204, EDYTEM, 73379 Le Bourget du Lac, France

Abstract. While picocyanobacteria (PC) are important actors in carbon and nutrient cycles in aquatic systems, factors controlling their interannual dynamics and diversity are poorly known due to the general lack of long-term monitoring surveys. This study intended to fill this gap by applying a DNA-based paleolimnological approach to sediment records from a deep subalpine lake that has experienced dramatic changes in environmental conditions during the last century (eutrophication, re-oligotrophication and large-scale climate changes). In particular, we investigated the long-term (100 yr) diversity and dynamics of Synechococcus,, PC that have presumably been affected by both the lake trophic status changes and global warming. The lake's morphological and environmental conditions provided the ideal conditions for DNA preservation in the sediment archives. Generalised additive models applied to quantitative PCR (qPCR; quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction) results highlighted that an increase in summer temperature could have a significant positive impact on the relative abundance of Synechococcus, (fraction of Synechococcus, in total cyanobacteria). The diversity of Synechococcus, in Lake Bourget was studied by phylogenetic analyses of the 16S rRNA gene and the following internally transcribed spacer (ITS). Up to 23 different OTUs (based on 16S rRNA), which fell into various cosmopolitan or endemic clusters, were identified in samples from the past 100 yr. Moreover, the study of ITS revealed a higher diversity within the major 16S rRNA-defined OTUs. Changes in PC diversity were related to the lake's trophic status. Overall, qPCR and sequencing results showed that environmental changes (in temperature and phosphorus concentration) affected Synechococcus, community dynamics and structure, translating into changes in genotype composition. These results also helped to re-evaluate the geographical distribution of some Synechococcus, clusters. Providing such novel insights into the long-term history of an important group of primary producers, this study illustrates the promising approach that consists in coupling molecular tools and paleolimnology to reconstruct a lake's biodiversity history.

Final-revised paper