Sjöqvist C, Delgado LF, Alneberg J, Andersson AF
ISME J 15 (10) 3034-3049 [2021-10-00; online 2021-05-05]
Bacterioplankton are main drivers of biogeochemical cycles and important components of aquatic food webs. While sequencing-based studies have revealed how bacterioplankton communities are structured in time and space, relatively little is known about intraspecies diversity patterns and their ecological relevance. Here, we use the newly developed software POGENOM (POpulation GENomics from Metagenomes) to investigate genomic diversity and differentiation in metagenome-assembled genomes from the Baltic Sea, and investigate their genomic variation using metagenome data spanning a 1700 km transect and covering seasonal variation at one station. The majority of the investigated species, representing several major bacterioplankton clades, displayed population structures correlating significantly with environmental factors such as salinity and temperature. Population differentiation was more pronounced over spatial than temporal scales. We discovered genes that have undergone adaptation to different salinity regimes, potentially responsible for the populations' existence along with the salinity range. This in turn implies the broad existence of ecotypes that may remain undetected by rRNA gene sequencing. Our findings emphasize the importance of physiological barriers, and highlight the role of adaptive divergence as a structuring mechanism of bacterioplankton species.