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Open AccessArticle

Metagenomic Characterization Reveals Pronounced Seasonality in the Diversity and Structure of the Phyllosphere Bacterial Community in a Mediterranean Ecosystem

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Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
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School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, International Hellenic University, 57001 Thermi, Greece
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School of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
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Department of Biological Applications and Technology, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece
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Department of Soil Science of Athens, Hellenic Agricultural Organization-Demeter, Institute of Soil and Water Resources, 14123 Lykovrisi, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(11), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7110518
Received: 17 September 2019 / Revised: 20 October 2019 / Accepted: 29 October 2019 / Published: 1 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Microbiology)
We explore how the phyllosphere microbial community responds to a very seasonal environment such as the Mediterranean. For this, we studied the epiphytic bacterial community of a Mediterranean ecosystem in summer and winter, expecting to detect seasonal differences at their maximum. With high-throughput sequencing (HTS), we detected the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) present in the phyllosphere and also in the surrounding air. The epiphytic community is approximately five orders of magnitude denser than the airborne one and is made almost exclusively by habitat specialists. The two communities differ considerably but Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria are dominant in both. Of the five most abundant phyllosphere OTUs, two were closely related to Sphingomonas strains, one to Methylobacterium and the other two to Rhizobiales and Burkholderiales. We found the epiphytic community to become much richer, more distinct, even and diverse, denser and more connected in summer. In contrast, there was no difference in the level of bacterial colonization of the phyllosphere between the two seasons, although there were seasonal differences for individual taxonomic groups: Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes and Chlroroflexi had a higher participation in summer, whereas the major Proteobacteria classes presented reverse patterns, with Betaproteobacteria increasing in summer at the expense of the prominent Alphaproteobacteria. View Full-Text
Keywords: air; bacterial colonization; epiphytic bacteria; high-throughput sequencing; generalists; specialists; 16S rRNA gene air; bacterial colonization; epiphytic bacteria; high-throughput sequencing; generalists; specialists; 16S rRNA gene
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Vokou, D.; Genitsaris, S.; Karamanoli, K.; Vareli, K.; Zachari, M.; Voggoli, D.; Monokrousos, N.; Halley, J.M.; Sainis, I. Metagenomic Characterization Reveals Pronounced Seasonality in the Diversity and Structure of the Phyllosphere Bacterial Community in a Mediterranean Ecosystem. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 518.

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