Bacterial community composition in the water column of the deepest freshwater Lake Baikal as determined by next-generation sequencing

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The composition of bacterial communities in Lake Baikal in different hydrological periods and at different depths (down to 1515 m) has been analyzed using pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene V3 variable region. Most of the resulting 34 562 reads of the Bacteria domain have clustered into 1693 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) classified with the phyla Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Acidobacteria and Cyanobacteria. It has been found that their composition at the family level and relative contributions to bacterial communities distributed over the water column vary depending on hydrological period. The number of OTUs and the parameters of taxonomic richness (ACE, Chao1 indices) and diversity (Shannon and inverse Simpson index) reach the highest values in water layers. The composition of bacterial communities in these layers remains relatively constant, whereas that in surface layers differs between hydrological seasons. The dynamics of physicochemical conditions over the water column and their relative constancy in deep layers are decisive factors in shaping the pattern of bacterial communities in Lake Baikal.

One sentence summary: In this article, we detailed description of changes in the taxonomic composition and quantitative ratio of different groups of microorganisms along the Lake Baikal water column.

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