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Musat, N; Werner, U; Kolb, S; Dodenhof, T; Knittel, K; van Beusekom, JEE; Dubilier, N; Amann, R: Microbial community structure of sandy intertidal sediments in the North Sea, Sylt-Romo Basin, Wadden Sea, Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 29, 333-348 (2006)
Molecular biological methods were used to investigate the microbial diversity and community structure in intertidal sandy sediments near the island of Sylt (Wadden Sea) at a site which was characterized for transport and mineralization rates in a parallel study (D. de Beer, F. Wenzho¨ fer, T. Ferdelman, S.E. Boehme, M. Huettel, J.E.E. van Beusekom, M.E. Bo¨ ttcher, N. Musat, N. Dubilier, Transport and mineralization rates in North Sea sandy intertidal sediments, Sylt-Romo Basin, Wadden Sea, Limnol. Oceanogr. 50 (2005) 113–127). Comparative 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed a high bacterial diversity. Most sequences retrieved by PCR with a general bacterial primer set were affiliated with Bacteroidetes, Gammaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria and the Pirellula cluster of Planctomycetales. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and slot-blot hybridization with group-specific rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes were used to characterize the microbial community structure over depth (0–12 cm) and seasons (March, July, October). We found high abundances of bacteria with total cell numbers up to 3109 cells ml1 and a clear seasonal variation, with higher values in July and October versus March. The microbial community was dominated by members of the Planctomycetes, the Cytophaga/Flavobacterium group, Gammaproteobacteria, and bacteria of the Desulfosarcina/Desulfococcus group. The high abundance (1.5107–1.8108 cells ml1 accounting for 3–19% of all cells) of presumably aerobic heterotrophic polymer-degrading planctomycetes is in line with the high permeability, deep oxygen penetration, and the high rates of aerobic mineralization of algal biomass measured in the sandy sediments by de Beer et al. (2005). The high and stable abundance of members of the Desulfosarcina/ Desulfococcus group, both over depth and season, suggests that these bacteria may play a more important role than previously assumed based on low sulfate reduction rates in parallel cores (de Beer et al., 2005).
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