Temporal patterns of microbial community structure in the Mid-Atlantic Bight

Joshua D. Nelson, Susan E. Boehme, Clare E. Reimers, Robert M. Sherrell, Lee J. Kerkhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Although open ocean time-series sites have been areas of microbial research for years, relatively little is known about the population dynamics of bacterioplankton communities in the coastal ocean on kilometer spatial and seasonal temporal scales. To gain a better understanding of microbial community variability, monthly samples of bacterial biomass were collected in 1995-1996 along a 34-km transect near the Long-Term Ecosystem Observatory (LEO-15) off the New Jersey coast. Surface and bottom sampling was performed at seven stations along a transect line with depths ranging from 1 to 35 m (n=178). Microbial populations were fingerprinted using ribosomal 16S rRNA genes and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Results from cluster analysis revealed distinct temporal patterns among the bacterioplankton communities in the Mid-Atlantic Bight rather than grouping by sample location or depth. Principal components analysis models supported the temporal patterns. In addition, partial least squares regression modeling could not discern a significant correlation from traditional oceanographic physical and phytoplankton nutrient parameters on overall bacterial community variability patterns at LEO-15. These results suggest factors not traditionally measured during oceanographic studies are structuring coastal microbial communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-493
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


  • 16S rRNA gene
  • Microbial community structure
  • Spatio-temporal variability


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