Chapter 13 : Dynamics of Populations and Their Role in Environmental Nutrient Cycling

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Molecular surveys of bacterioplankton communities in coastal regions and open oceans have yielded similar 16S rRNA sequences, although coastal sites can differ significantly from the open ocean with respect to primary production rates and terrestrial influence. While obligate “ultramicrobacteria” have been described from oligotrophic open ocean environments and hypothesized to substantially contribute to environmental nutrient cycling, the extent to which facultative “ultra-micro” cells contribute to microbial diversity and nutrient cycling in oligotrophic environments has not been addressed; this may reflect the limitation of DNA-based studies that are based on a collection of planktonic biomass on a 0.2-μm-pore-size filter. Association with larger host organisms may mediate the environmental dynamics of symbiotic or commensal populations. Chitinase activity may reflect one of the most important extracellular enzymatic processes in the marine environment. A facultatively anaerobic bacterium originally described as a denitrifying was recently classified as an alphaproteobacterium based upon DNA sequence data. Comparative genomic approaches between nonpathogens and pathogenic strains can help explain the unifying themes underlying bacterial-host interactions and mechanisms by which pathogenic interactions may emerge. Environmental genomic approaches to explore the metabolic diversity associated with phylogenetic clades can shed light on how widespread certain features, such as N fixation, bioluminescence, and cell signaling, are among the and whether vibrios are capable of as-yet- undiscovered metabolic transformations (e.g., denitrification, phototrophy, chemoautotropy). The dynamics and distribution of bacterioplanktonic populations are determined by adaptations to environmental gradients, including temperature, salinity, and nutrient concentration.

Citation: Thompson J, Polz M. 2006. Dynamics of Populations and Their Role in Environmental Nutrient Cycling, p 190-203. In Thompson F, Austin B, Swings J (ed), The Biology of Vibrios. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815714.ch13
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Image of FIGURE 1

Idealized heterotrophic microbial loop whereby dissolved organic matter is recycled to inorganic nutrients available for primary production by the activities of heterotrophic bacteria and protists. Open arrowheads reflect the flow of organic carbon, and closed arrowheads reflect the flow of inorganic nutrients (N and P). Vibrios mediate biogeochemical cycling through activities such as organic matter uptake and release or competition for inorganic nutrients and by release of cellular materials as a by-product of grazing or viral lysis. (Contributions to nutrient cycling by au-totrophic cyanobacteria and protozoan uptake of high-molecular-weight dissolved organic matter [DOM] are not depicted.)

Citation: Thompson J, Polz M. 2006. Dynamics of Populations and Their Role in Environmental Nutrient Cycling, p 190-203. In Thompson F, Austin B, Swings J (ed), The Biology of Vibrios. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815714.ch13
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Image of FIGURE 2

Nitrogen cycles between oxidation states of —3 to +5. links in the marine environment are shown in gray. Genes encode proteins implicated in mediating nitrogen. Modified from .

Citation: Thompson J, Polz M. 2006. Dynamics of Populations and Their Role in Environmental Nutrient Cycling, p 190-203. In Thompson F, Austin B, Swings J (ed), The Biology of Vibrios. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815714.ch13
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