Aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AAP) bacteria are photoheterotrophic prokaryotes able to use both light and organic substrates for energy production. They are widely distributed in coastal and oceanic environments and may con-tribute significantly to the carbon cycle in the upper ocean. To better understand questions regarding links between the ecology of these photoheterotrophic bacteria and the trophic status of water masses, we examined their horizontal and ver-tical distribution and the effects of nutrient additions on their growth along an oligotrophic gradient in the Mediterranean Sea. Concentrations of bacteriochlorophyll-a (BChl-a) and AAP bacterial abundance decreased from the western to the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea and were linked with concentrations of chlorophyll-a, nutrient and dissolved or-ganic carbon. Inorganic nutrient and glucose additions to surface seawater samples along the oligotrophic gradient re-vealed that AAP bacteria were nitrogen-and carbon-limited in the ultraoligotrophic eastern basin. The intensity of the AAP bacterial growth response generally differed from that of the total bacterial growth response. BChl-a quota of AAP bacterial communities was significantly higher in the eastern basin than in the western basin, suggesting that reliance on phototrophy varied along the oligotrophic gradient and that nutrient and/or carbon limitation favors BChl-a synthesis.
Lamy, D., Jeanthon, C., Cottrell, M. T., Kirchman, D. L., Van Wambeke, F., Ras, J., … Lebaron, P. (2011). Ecology of aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria along an oligotrophic gradient in the Mediterranean Sea. Biogeosciences, 8(4), 973–985. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-8-973-2011