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|An introduction to the biogeography of aquatic microbes|
In: Aquatic Microbial Ecology. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0948-3055
Biogeography; Microbiology; Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water
Bacteria · Protists · Latitudinal diversity gradient · Island biogeography · Biodiversity
Aquatic microbes, like all organisms, have biogeographies, but this subject hasattracted relatively little attention. In this review, recent results exploiting techniques of molecularbiology are summarized to place in perspective the studies of this Theme Section. The studies consideredconcern large-scale patterns of spatial distribution among heterotrophic planktonic prokaryoticand eukaryotic microbes. For freshwater bacterioplankton communities, reported patterns areinconsistent. Taxonomic richness may increase with system size, and composition may be relatedamong neighboring bodies of water. However, inconsistencies in patterns may be due to differencesin the temporal and spatial scales considered. Among planktonic marine prokaryotes, biogeographicpatterns are known only in terms of high level groups, e.g. Archea are perhaps dominant in deepoceanic waters. However, studies of large-scale patterns have just begun and they suggest that someribotypes or species may be restricted to certain oceanic areas. Eukaryotic microbes appear to characterisedby high capacities for both dispersal and gene flow. Recent studies appear to conclude thatwe can form morphological, genetic and physiological groupings but their inter-relationships areobscure at this point in time.
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