Marine Science Faculty Publications

Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Prokaryotic and Viral Community Assemblages in a Lotic System (Manatee Springs, Florida)

Document Type


Publication Date



freshwater, environmental microbiology, virome, springs, prokaryote, virus, microbial ecology, lotic systems, community coalescence

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Flow from high-magnitude springs fed by the Floridan aquifer system contributes hundreds of liters of water per second to rivers, creating unique lotic systems. Despite their importance as freshwater sources and their contributions to the state’s major rivers, little is known about the composition and spatiotemporal variability of prokaryotic and viral communities of these spring systems or their influence on downstream river sites. At four time points throughout a year, we determined the abundance and diversity of prokaryotic and viral communities at three sites within the first-magnitude Manatee Springs system (the spring head where water emerges from the aquifer, a mixed region where the spring run ends, and a downstream site in the Suwannee River). The abundance of prokaryotes and virus-like particles increased 100-fold from the spring head to the river and few members from the head communities persisted in the river at low abundance, suggesting the springs play a minor role in seeding downstream communities. Prokaryotic and viral communities within Manatee Springs clustered by site, with seasonal variability likely driven by flow. As water flowed through the system, microbial community composition was affected by changes in physiochemical parameters and community coalescence. Evidence of species sorting and mass effects could be seen in the assemblages. Greater temporal fluctuations were observed in prokaryotic and viral community composition with increasing distance from the spring outflow, reflecting the relative stability of the groundwater environment, and comparisons to springs from prior work reaffirmed that distinct first-magnitude springs support unique communities.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v. 87, no. 18