, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 197–206 | Cite as

Abundance and community composition of bacterioplankton in the Northern South China Sea during winter: geographic position and water layer influences

  • Rongjun Shi
  • Jiajun Li
  • Zhanhui Qi
  • Zhe Zhang
  • Huaxue Liu
  • Honghui HuangEmail author
Original Article


The abundance and composition of bacterioplankton of the Northern South China Sea (NSCS) were investigated using flow cytometry and high-throughput sequencing. The results showed that the absolute abundance of bacterioplankton retained high values in surface waters at both continental shelf and oceanic sites and Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, and Bacteroidetes represented the three typical dominant phyla in NSCS. The average bacterioplankton abundances at 5 m, 75 m, and 200 m were 9.55, 5.04, and 1.32 × 105 cells mL−1, respectively, and there was a significantly positive correlation between bacterioplankton abundance and Chl a content (r = 0.84, p < 0.01). Drastic changes of the bacterioplankton community occurred in different water layers. Three operational taxonomic units (OTUs), whose distribution were significantly different between 5-m and 75-m water layers, all belonged to Flavobacteriales of the Bacteroidetes (p < 0.05). In addition, bacterioplankton community richness and diversity at the continental shelf (CS) was generally higher than at oceanic stations (SB and KI). Five OTUs, which favored the habitat of continental shelf, belonged to Alphaproteobacteria including the orders of the SAR11 cluster, Rhodospirillales, Rhodobacterales and other unclassified orders (p < 0.05). Two OTUs, which favored the habitat of oceanic stations, were assigned to the orders of Flavobacteriales and Alteromonadales. Furthermore, the abundances of two OTUs belonging to the Cyanobacteria phylum and Verrucomicrobiales order were significantly different between the sea basin (SB) and Kuroshio influenced area (KI) stations (p < 0.05).


Bacterioplankton Northern South China Sea Kuroshio Water layers 



Operational Taxonomic Unit


Northern South China Sea


Continental shelf


Sea basin


Kuroshio influenced station


Dissolved inorganic nitrogen


Dissolved inorganic phosphate


Sea surface temperature

Chl a

Chlorophyll a


Correspondence analysis



The authors are thankful for the comments and suggestions of the anonymous reviewers and the editors that helped to improve this paper. This worked was supported by Major State Basic Research Development Program of China (973 Program, 2015CB452904, 2015CB452901), Central Public-interest Scientific Institution Basal Research Fund, South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, CAFS (2015TS25, 2017YB23, 2016YD02, 2017YB06), Major Project of Ministry of Agriculture (NFZX2013), Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province, China (2014B030301064) and Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (2015A030313785).


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Copyright information

© Institute of Molecular Biology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Fishery Ecology and Environment and Key Laboratory of Open-Sea Fishery Development, Ministry of Agriculture, South China Sea Fisheries Research InstituteChinese Academy of Fishery ScienceGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Marine Biology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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