Markussen T, Happel EM, Teikari JE, Huchaiah V, Alneberg J, Andersson AF, Sivonen K, Riemann L, Middelboe M, Kisand V
Environ. Microbiol. 20 (8) 3083-3099 [2018-08-00; online 2018-09-19]
Bacteria are major drivers of biogeochemical nutrient cycles and energy fluxes in marine environments, yet how bacterial communities respond to environmental change is not well known. Metagenomes allow examination of genetic responses of the entire microbial community to environmental change. However, it is challenging to link metagenomes directly to biogeochemical process rates. Here, we investigate metagenomic responses in natural bacterioplankton communities to simulated environmental stressors in the Baltic Sea, including increased river water input, increased nutrient concentration, and reduced oxygen level. This allowed us to identify informative prokaryotic gene markers, responding to environmental perturbation. Our results demonstrate that metagenomic and metabolic changes in bacterial communities in response to environmental stressors are influenced both by the initial community composition and by the biogeochemical factors shaping the functional response. Furthermore, the different sources of dissolved organic matter (DOM) had the largest impact on metagenomic blueprint. Most prominently, changes in DOM loads influenced specific transporter types reflecting the substrate availability and DOC assimilation and consumption pathways. The results provide new knowledge for developing models of ecosystem structure and biogeochemical cycling in future climate change scenarios and advance our exploration of the potential use of marine microorganisms as markers for environmental conditions.