Temporal dynamics of eukaryotic microbial diversity at a coastal Pacific site

Nagarkar, M, Countway PD, Du Yoo Y, Daniels E, Poulton NJ, Palenik B.  2018.  Temporal dynamics of eukaryotic microbial diversity at a coastal Pacific site. The ISME Journal.

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High-throughput sequencing of ocean biomes has revealed vast eukaryotic microbial diversity, a significant proportion of which remains uncharacterized. Here we use a temporal approach to understanding eukaryotic diversity at the Scripps Pier, La Jolla, California, USA, via high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the 18S rRNA gene, the abundances of both Synechococcus and Synechococcus grazers, and traditional oceanographic parameters. We also exploit our ability to track operational taxonomic units (OTUs) temporally to evaluate the ability of 18S sequence-based OTU assignments to meaningfully reflect ecological dynamics. The eukaryotic community is highly dynamic in terms of both species richness and composition, although proportional representation of higher-order taxa remains fairly consistent over time. Synechococcus abundance fluctuates throughout the year. OTUs unique to dates of Synechococcus blooms and crashes or enriched in Synechococcus addition incubation experiments suggest that the prasinophyte Tetraselmis sp. and Gymnodinium-like dinoflagellates are likely Synechococcus grazers under certain conditions, and may play an important role in their population fluctuations.