The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is used to evaluate the water quality of aquatic ecosystems. Phytoplankton is the only biological element considered in the reservoirs water quality assessment. In this study, we aimed to assess the use of the bacterioplankton community as an indicator of water quality, using a culture-independent assay (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, DGGE). Four Portuguese reservoirs (Miranda, Pocinho, Aguieira and Alqueva) were analysed in four periods (autumn 2018, spring and autumn 2019, and spring 2020). Bacterial total abundance had similar values for Miranda, Pocinho and Aguieira, and generally lower values for Alqueva. Diversity and richness values did not show a clear trend. Negative correlations were observed between some nutrients and the bacterial community. Overall, members of Actinobacteria
were identified in all sampling sites. In Alqueva, no spatial, temporal or water body quality relationships with bacterial community were observed, which may be due to its higher size, low water velocity rate and higher residence times. However, in Miranda, Pocinho and Aguieira, a strong spatial and temporal bacterial community dynamic was observed. Furthermore, the presence of some species (e.g., Acinetobacter
sp.) may reflect the poor water quality that was not detected by the WFD approach.
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