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Front Microbiol. 2019 Jul 31;10:1714. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01714. eCollection 2019.

Temperature Response of Planktonic Microbiota in Remote Alpine Lakes.

Jiang Y1,2, Huang H1,2, Ma T1,2, Ru J1,2, Blank S3, Kurmayer R3, Deng L1,2.

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Institute of Virology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.
Institute of Virology, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.
Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.


Alpine lakes are considered pristine freshwater ecosystems and sensitive to direct and indirect changes in water temperature as induced by climate change. The bacterial plankton constitutes a key component in the water column and bacterial metabolic activity has direct consequences for water quality. In order to understand bacterial response to global temperature rise in five alpine lakes located in the Austrian Alps (1700-2188 m a.S.L.) water temperature was compared within a decadal period. Depth-integrated samples were characterized in community composition by 16S rDNA deep-amplicon sequencing early [56 ± 16 (SD) days after ice break up] and later (88 ± 16 days) in the growing season. Within the 10 years period, temperature rise was observed through reduced ice cover duration and increased average water temperature. During the early growing season, the average water temperature recorded between circulation in spring until sampling date (WAS), and the day of autumn circulation, as well as chemical composition including dissolved organic carbon influenced bacterial community composition. In contrast, only nutrients (such as nitrate) were found influential later in the growing season. Metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) was applied to explain the dependence of taxonomic richness on WAS in mathematical terms. The calculated activation energy exceeded the frequently reported prediction emphasizing the role of WAS during early growing season. Accordingly, the relative abundance of predicted metabolism related genes increased with WAS. Thus, the dominant influence of temperature after ice break up could be explained by overall climate change effects, such as a more intense warming in spring and an overall higher amplitude of temperature variation.


activation energy; climate change; growing seasons; high mountain lakes; metabarcoding; nutrient level; richness

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