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1.  Competition and facilitation between the marine nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium Cyanothece and its associated bacterial community 
N2-fixing cyanobacteria represent a major source of new nitrogen and carbon for marine microbial communities, but little is known about their ecological interactions with associated microbiota. In this study we investigated the interactions between the unicellular N2-fixing cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. Miami BG043511 and its associated free-living chemotrophic bacteria at different concentrations of nitrate and dissolved organic carbon and different temperatures. High temperature strongly stimulated the growth of Cyanothece, but had less effect on the growth and community composition of the chemotrophic bacteria. Conversely, nitrate and carbon addition did not significantly increase the abundance of Cyanothece, but strongly affected the abundance and species composition of the associated chemotrophic bacteria. In nitrate-free medium the associated bacterial community was co-dominated by the putative diazotroph Mesorhizobium and the putative aerobic anoxygenic phototroph Erythrobacter and after addition of organic carbon also by the Flavobacterium Muricauda. Addition of nitrate shifted the composition toward co-dominance by Erythrobacter and the Gammaproteobacterium Marinobacter. Our results indicate that Cyanothece modified the species composition of its associated bacteria through a combination of competition and facilitation. Furthermore, within the bacterial community, niche differentiation appeared to play an important role, contributing to the coexistence of a variety of different functional groups. An important implication of these findings is that changes in nitrogen and carbon availability due to, e.g., eutrophication and climate change are likely to have a major impact on the species composition of the bacterial community associated with N2-fixing cyanobacteria.
PMCID: PMC4294207  PMID: 25642224
aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs; cyanobacteria; heterotrophic bacteria; microbiota; nitrogen fixation; phytoplankton; resource competition; species interactions
2.  Short-term responses of unicellular planktonic eukaryotes to increases in temperature and UVB radiation 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:202.
Small size eukaryotes play a fundamental role in the functioning of coastal ecosystems, however, the way in which these micro-organisms respond to combined effects of water temperature, UVB radiations (UVBR) and nutrient availability is still poorly investigated.
We coupled molecular tools (18S rRNA gene sequencing and fingerprinting) with microscope-based identification and counting to experimentally investigate the short-term responses of small eukaryotes (<6 μm; from a coastal Mediterranean lagoon) to a warming treatment (+3°C) and UVB radiation increases (+20%) at two different nutrient levels. Interestingly, the increase in temperature resulted in higher pigmented eukaryotes abundances and in community structure changes clearly illustrated by molecular analyses. For most of the phylogenetic groups, some rearrangements occurred at the OTUs level even when their relative proportion (microscope counting) did not change significantly. Temperature explained almost 20% of the total variance of the small eukaryote community structure (while UVB explained only 8.4%). However, complex cumulative effects were detected. Some antagonistic or non additive effects were detected between temperature and nutrients, especially for Dinophyceae and Cryptophyceae.
This multifactorial experiment highlights the potential impacts, over short time scales, of changing environmental factors on the structure of various functional groups like small primary producers, parasites and saprotrophs which, in response, can modify energy flow in the planktonic food webs.
PMCID: PMC3478981  PMID: 22966751
Small eukaryotes; Molecular diversity; Temperature; UVB radiation; Microcosms experiment; Mediterranean lagoon

Results 1-2 (2)