Distribution Patterns of Microbial Community Structure Along a 7000-Mile Latitudinal Transect from the Mediterranean Sea Across the Atlantic Ocean to the Brazilian Coastal Sea

Microbiology of Aquatic Systems


A central goal in marine microecology is to understand the ecological factors shaping spatiotemporal microbial patterns and the underlying processes. We hypothesized that abiotic and/or biotic interactions are probably more important for explaining the distribution patterns of marine bacterioplankton than environmental filtering. In this study, surface seawater samples were collected about 7000 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, transecting the North Atlantic Ocean, to the Brazilian marginal sea. In bacterial biosphere, SAR11, SAR86, Rhodobacteraceae, and Rhodospiriaceae were predominant in the Mediterranean Sea; Prochlorococcus was more frequent in Atlantic Ocean; whereas in the Brazilian coastal sea, the main bacterial members were Synechococcus and SAR11. With respect to archaea, Euryarchaeota were predominant in the Atlantic Ocean and Thaumarchaeota in the Mediterranean Sea. With respect to the eukaryotes, Syndiniales, Spumellaria, Cryomonadida, and Chlorodendrales were predominant in the open ocean, while diatoms and microzooplankton were dominant in the coastal sea. Distinct clusters of prokaryotes and eukaryotes displayed clear spatial heterogeneity. Among the environmental parameters measured, temperature and salinity were key factors controlling bacterial and archaeal community structure, respectively, whereas N/P/Si contributed to eukaryotic variation. The relative contribution of environmental parameters to the microbial distribution pattern was 45.2%. Interaction analysis showed that Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, and Flavobacteriia were the keystone taxa within the positive-correlation network, while Thermoplasmata was the main contributor in the negative-correlation network. Our study demonstrated that microbial communities are co-governed by environmental filtering and biotic interactions, which are the main deterministic driving factors modulating the spatiotemporal patterns of marine plankton synergistically at the regional or global levels.


Bacteria Archaea Microeukaryotes Co-occurrence patterns Atlantic Ocean 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41476092), S&T Projects of Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee (KQJSCX20160226190419, JCYJ20170412171959157, JCYJ20150529164918736), Marine Fishery Science and Technology and Industry Development of Guangdong Province (A201603D05), as well as the HIT Scientific Research Innovation Fund (No. HIT.NSRIF.201702).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

248_2018_1150_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.8 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 2912 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shenzhen Public Platform for Screening and Application of Marine Microbial Resources, Graduate School at ShenzhenTsinghua University, Shenzhen University TownShenzhenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.The Department of Life ScienceTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of Marine Science and TechnologyHarbin Institute of TechnologyWeihaiPeople’s Republic of China

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