Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Unicellular Cyanobacteria Are Important Components of Phytoplankton Communities in Australia’s Northern Oceanic Ecoregions
Author(s): Moore, Lisa R.
Huang, Taotao
Ostrowski, Martin
Mazard, Sophie
Kumar, Sheemal S
Gamage, Hasinika K A H
Brown, Mark V
Messer, Lauren F
Seymour, Justin R
Paulsen, Ian T
Contact Email:
Keywords: eukaryotic phytoplankton
marine cyanobacteria
amplicon sequencing
flow cytometry
Issue Date: 23-Jan-2019
Date Deposited: 16-Aug-2023
Citation: Moore LR, Huang T, Ostrowski M, Mazard S, Kumar SS, Gamage HKAH, Brown MV, Messer LF, Seymour JR & Paulsen IT (2019) Unicellular Cyanobacteria Are Important Components of Phytoplankton Communities in Australia’s Northern Oceanic Ecoregions. <i>Frontiers in Microbiology</i>, 9.
Abstract: The tropical marine environments of northern Australia encompasses a diverse range of geomorphological and oceanographic conditions and high levels of productivity and nitrogen fixation. However, efforts to characterize phytoplankton assemblages in these waters have been restricted to studies using microscopic and pigment analyses, leading to the current consensus that this region is dominated by large diatoms, dinoflagellates, and the marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium. During an oceanographic transect from the Arafura Sea through the Torres Strait to the Coral Sea, we characterized prokaryotic and eukaryotic phytoplankton communities in surface waters using a combination of flow cytometry and Illumina based 16S and 18S ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing. Similar to observations in other marine regions around Australian, phytoplankton assemblages throughout this entire region were rich in unicellular picocyanobacterial primary producers while picoeukaryotic phytoplankton formed a consistent, though smaller proportion of the photosynthetic biomass. Major taxonomic groups displayed distinct biogeographic patterns linked to oceanographic and nutrient conditions. Unicellular picocyanobacteria dominated in both flow cytometric abundance and carbon biomass, with members of the Synechococcus genus dominating in the shallower Arafura Sea and Torres Strait where chlorophyll a was relatively higher (averaging 0.4 ± 0.2 mg m-3), and Prochlorococcus dominating in the oligotrophic Coral Sea where chlorophyll a averaged 0.13 ± 0.07 mg m-3. Consistent with previous microscopic and pigment-based observations, we found from sequence analysis that a variety of diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) exhibited high relative abundance in the Arafura Sea and Torres Strait, while dinoflagellates (Dinophyceae) and prymnesiophytes (Prymnesiophyceae) were more abundant in the Coral Sea. Ordination analysis identified temperature, nutrient concentrations and water depth as key drivers of the region’s assemblage composition. This is the first molecular and flow cytometric survey of the abundance and diversity of both prokaryotic and picoeukaryotic phytoplankton in this region, and points to the need to include the picocyanobacterial populations as an essential oceanic variable for sustained monitoring in order to better understand the health of these important coastal waters as global oceans change
DOI Link: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03356
Rights: Copyright © 2019 Moore, Huang, Ostrowski, Mazard, Kumar, Gamage, Brown, Messer, Seymour and Paulsen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
fmicb-09-03356.pdfFulltext - Published Version5.56 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.