We report the seasonal and single-diurnal variability of potentially active members of the prokaryote community in coastal surface waters off central Chile and the relationship between nitrifiers and solar radiation by combining 16S cDNA-based pyrosequencing, RTqPCR of specific gene markers for nitrifiers (amoA, for general AOA, AOA-A, AOA-B, Nitrosopumilus maritimus and beta-AOB; and 16S rRNA gene for Nitrospina-like NOB), and solar irradiance measurements. We also evaluated the effects of artificial UVA-PAR and PAR spectra on nitrifiers by RT-qPCR. All nitrifiers (except AOA-B ecotype) were detected via RTqPCR but AOA was the only group detected by pyrosequencing. Results showed high variability in their transcriptional levels during the day which could be associated to sunlight intensity thresholds in winter although AOA and Nitrospina-like NOB transcript number were also potentially related with environmental substrate availability. Only N. maritimus amoA transcripts showed a significant negative correlation with solar irradiances in both periods. During springsummer, Nitrospina transcripts decreased at higher sunlight intensities, whereas the opposite was found during winter under natural (in situ) and artificial light experiments. In summary, a nitrifying community with variable tolerance to solar radiation is responsible for daily nitrification, and was particularly diverse during winter in the study area.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)