• Long-term effects of ocean warming on the prokaryotic community: evidence from the vibrios.

      Vezzulli, Luigi; Brettar, Ingrid; Pezzati, Elisabetta; Reid, Philip C; Colwell, Rita R; Höfle, Manfred G; Pruzzo, Carla; Department for the Study of Territory and its Resources, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy. luigi.vezzulli@unige.it (2012-01)
      The long-term effects of ocean warming on prokaryotic communities are unknown because of lack of historical data. We overcame this gap by applying a retrospective molecular analysis to the bacterial community on formalin-fixed samples from the historical Continuous Plankton Recorder archive, which is one of the longest and most geographically extensive collections of marine biological samples in the world. We showed that during the last half century, ubiquitous marine bacteria of the Vibrio genus, including Vibrio cholerae, increased in dominance within the plankton-associated bacterial community of the North Sea, where an unprecedented increase in bathing infections related to these bacteria was recently reported. Among environmental variables, increased sea surface temperature explained 45% of the variance in Vibrio data, supporting the view that ocean warming is favouring the spread of vibrios and may be the cause of the globally increasing trend in their associated diseases.