Responses of Free-Living Planktonic Bacterial Communities to Experimental Acidification and Warming

Climate change driven by human activities encompasses the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and sea-surface temperature. Little is known regarding the synergistic effects of these phenomena on bacterial communities in oligotrophic marine ecosystems that are expected to be particularly vulnerable. Here, we studied bacterial community composition changes based on 16S rRNA sequencing at two fractions (0.1–0.2 and >0.2 μm) during a 10- day fully factorial mesocosm experiment in the eastern Mediterranean where the pH decreased by ~0.3 units and temperature increased by ~3 °C to project possible future changes in surface waters. The bacterial community experienced significant taxonomic differences driven by the combined effect of time and treatment; a community shift one day after the manipulations was noticed, followed by a similar state between all mesocosms at the third day, and mild shifts later on, which were remarkable mainly under sole acidification. The abundance of Synechococcus increased in response to warming, while the SAR11 clade immediately benefited from the combined acidification and warming. The effect of the acidification itself had a more persistent impact on community composition. This study highlights the importance of studying climate change consequences on ecosystem functioning both separately and simultaneously, considering the ambient environmental parameters.

Tsiola, A., Krasakopoulou, E., Daffonchio, D., Frangoulis, C., Tsagaraki, T. M., Fodelianakis, S., & Pitta, P. (2023). Responses of Free-Living Planktonic Bacterial Communities to Experimental Acidification and Warming. Microorganisms, 11(2), 273.

This research was funded by the EU FP7 MedSeA project (Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate, Grant agreement 265103). Sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene was financially supported by the KAUST baseline funding to Daniele Daffonchio. The authors are grateful to George Piperakis for his help during mesocosm setup, Eleni Dafnomilli, Snezana Zivanovic and Manolis Tsapakis for nutrient concentration measurements and Ioulia Santi for her help in laboratory analyses.




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