Eddies are mesoscale oceanographic features (~200 km diameter) that can cause transient blooms of phytoplankton by shifting density isoclines in relation to light and nutrient resources. To better understand how bacterioplankton respond to eddies, we examined depth-resolved distributions of bacterial populations across an anticyclonic mode-water eddy in the Sargasso Sea. Previous work on this eddy has documented elevated phytoplankton productivity and diatom abundance within the eddy centre with coincident bacterial productivity and biomass maxima. We illustrate bacterial community shifts within the eddy centre, differentiating populations uplifted along isopycnals from those enriched or depleted at horizons of enhanced bacterial and primary productivity. Phylotypes belonging to the Roseobacter, OCS116 and marine Actinobacteria clades were enriched in the eddy core and were highly correlated with pigment-based indicators of diatom abundance, sup- porting developing hypotheses that members of these clades associate with phytoplankton blooms. Typical mesopelagic clades (SAR202, SAR324, SAR406 and SAR11 IIb) were uplifted within the eddy centre, increasing bacterial diversity in the lower euphotic zone. Typical surface oligotrophic clades (SAR116, OM75, Prochlorococcus and SAR11 Ia) were relatively depleted in the eddy centre. The biogeochemical context of a bloom-inducing eddy provides insight into the ecology of the diverse uncultured bacterio- plankton dominating the oligotrophic oceans.
Download full article