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Image_2_Automated flow cytometry as a tool to obtain a fine-grain picture of marine prokaryote community structure along an entire oceanographic cruis.TIF (2.32 MB)

Image_2_Automated flow cytometry as a tool to obtain a fine-grain picture of marine prokaryote community structure along an entire oceanographic cruise.TIF

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posted on 2023-01-06, 06:10 authored by Massimo C. Pernice, Josep M. Gasol

On a standard oceanographic cruise, flow cytometry data are usually collected sparsely through a bottle-based sampling and with stations separated by kilometers leading to a fragmented view of the ecosystem; to improve the resolution of the datasets produced by this technique here it is proposed the application of an automatic method of sampling and staining. The system used consists of a flow-cytometer (Accuri-C6) connected to an automated continuous sampler (OC-300) that collects samples of marine surface waters every 15 min. We tested this system for five days during a brief Mediterranean cruise with the aim of estimating the abundance, relative size and phenotypic diversity of prokaryotes. Seawater was taken by a faucet linked to an inlet pump (ca. 5 m depth). Once the sample was taken, the Oncyt-300 stained it and sent it to the flow cytometer. A total of 366 samples were collected, effectively achieving a fine-grained scale view of microbial community composition both through space and time. A significative positive relationship was found comparing data obtained with the automatic method and 10 samples collected from the faucet but processed with the standard protocol. Abundance values retrieved varied from 3.56·105 cell mL−1 in the coastal area till 6.87 105 cell mL−1 in open waters, exceptional values were reached in the harbor area where abundances peaked to 1.28 106 cell mL−1. The measured features (abundance and size) were associated with metadata (temperature, salinity, conductivity) also taken in continuous, of which conductivity was the one that better explained the variability of abundance. A full 24 h measurement cycle was performed resulting in slightly higher median bacterial abundances values during daylight hours compared to night. Alpha diversity, calculated using computational cytometry techniques, showed a higher value in the coastal area above 41° of latitude and had a strong inverse relationship with both salinity and conductivity. This is the first time to our knowledge that the OC-300 is directly applied to the marine environment during an oceanographic cruise; due to its high-resolution, this set-up shows great potential both to cover large sampling areas, and to monitor day-night cycles in situ.

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