Seasonality of top-down control of bacterioplankton at two central Red Sea sites with different trophic status

Eman I. Sabbagh, Maria de Lluch Calleja Cortes, Daniele Daffonchio, Xose Anxelu G. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The role of bottom-up (nutrient availability) and top-down (grazers and viruses mortality) controls on tropical bacterioplankton have been rarely investigated simultaneously from a seasonal perspective. We have assessed them through monthly samplings over 2 years in inshore and offshore waters of the central Red Sea differing in trophic status. Flow cytometric analysis allowed us to distinguish five groups of heterotrophic bacteria based on physiological properties (nucleic acid content, membrane integrity and active respiration), three groups of cyanobacteria (two populations of Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus), heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNFs) and three groups of viruses based on nucleic acid content. The dynamics of bacterioplankton and their top-down controls varied with season and location, being more pronounced in inshore waters. HNFs abundances showed a strong preference for larger prey inshore (r = −0.62 to −0.59, p = 0.001–0.002). Positive relationships between viruses and heterotrophic bacterioplankton abundances were more marked inshore (r = 0.67, p < 0.001) than offshore (r = 0.44, p = 0.03). The negative correlation between HNFs and viruses abundances (r = −0.47, p = 0.02) in shallow waters indicates a persistent seasonal switch between protistan grazing and viral lysis that maintains the low bacterioplankton stocks in the central Red Sea area.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEnvironmental microbiology
StatePublished - Jun 7 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonality of top-down control of bacterioplankton at two central Red Sea sites with different trophic status'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this