Are oceanic fronts ecotones? Seasonal changes along the subtropical front show fronts as bacterioplankton transition zones but not diversity hotspots

Author(s)
Sergio E. Morales, Moana Meyer, Kim Currie, Federico Baltar
Abstract

Ecotones are regarded as diversity hotspots in terrestrial systems, but it is unknown if this ecotone effect' occurs in the marine environment. Oceanic fronts are widespread mesoscale features, present in the boundary between different water masses, and are arguably the best potential examples of ecotones in the ocean. Here we performed the first seasonal study along an oceanic front, combining 16S rRNA gene sequencing coupled with a high spatial resolution analysis of the physical properties of the water masses. Using the Subtropical Frontal Zone off New Zealand we demonstrate that fronts delimit shifts in bacterioplankton community composition between water masses, but that the strength of this effect is seasonally dependent. While creating a transition zone where physicochemical parameters and bacterioplankton communities get mixed, this ecotone does not result in increased diversity. Thus unlike terrestrial ecotones, oceanic fronts are boundaries but not hotspots of bacterioplankton diversity in the ocean.

Organisation(s)
External organisation(s)
University of Otago
Journal
Environmental Microbiology Reports
Volume
10
Pages
184-189
No. of pages
6
ISSN
1758-2229
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1111/1758-2229.12618
Publication date
04-2018
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Marine biology
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/are-oceanic-fronts-ecotones-seasonal-changes-along-the-subtropical-front-show-fronts-as-bacterioplankton-transition-zones-but-not-diversity-hotspots(c4426357-5e4b-4926-b7bc-56833b8b2f91).html