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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Prokaryotic activity and phylogeny of oceanic systems


This proposal is built on phylogenetic information on the prokaryotic communities of the coastal North Sea and in the open North Atlantic water. The sequence information available on the prokaryotic community will be used to construct oligonucleotide probe s for the main prokaryotic species present at these 2 sites. Using these fluorescent oligonucleotide probes in combination with the recently developed method catalysed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridisation (CARD-FISH), we will be able to determine the dynamics of the main components of the prokaryotic community. This CARD-FISH method is sensitive enough to allow detection of prokaryotic cells even in the deep ocean and will be combined with microautoradiography (MICRO-CARD-FISH).

This combination of methods, recently developed in the host institution, allows the detection and enumeration of specific prokaryotic species and, at the same time, information is obtained on the utilization of specific compounds. Thus, the proposal directly addresses the functional biodiversity of marine prokaryotic plankton communities. MICRO-CARD-FISH will be used to determine the fluctuations in the activity of the main drivers of the prokaryotic succession in near-shore waters. Specific attention will be paid on the relation and activity pattern between Bacteria and Archaea, the 2 domains of the prokaryotes. Pelagic Archaea are not cultivable and their substrate requirements are unknown although they make up the majority of prokaryotic cells in the deep ocean water column and become numerically important in the North Sea in winter, when the number of Bacteria is low.

Using MICRO-CARD-FISH, it has been shown that planktonic Archaea are capable of taking up bicarbonate or CO2 derived from it. The intention of the proposal is to decipher the dynamics of the main drivers of the carbon cycling in the prokaryotic community, thus focusing on a key component of the functional biodiversity in marine ecosystems.

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