Temporal Variation and Co-occurrence Patterns of Bacterial Communities in Eutrophic Lake Taihu, China

To understand the long-term and local variations of bacteria under the influence of annually re-occurred water bloom, bacterial community composition (BCC) was investigated monthly for 3 years (2009–2011) at four different sites located across Lake Taihu. The bacterial community composition was analyzed by 16S rRNA gene clone libraries and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism. Co-occurrence patterns among bacterial taxa and environmental variables were determined through network analysis. Overall, strong seasonal variation patterns of BCC were observed whilst the spatial variations of BCC were slight in the long-term observation. However, core species bacteria persisted throughout the annual variations. Network analysis showed that the highly connected operational taxonomic units in bacteria-environment network included both the numerically dominant taxa and some functional groups with low abundance, such as Methylophilaceae and Nitrospira. Co-occurrence networks further revealed that the correlations of bacteria-bacteria could be more critical than those between environment and bacteria in structuring microbial communities, and would be a crucial driving factor of BCC in Lake Taihu.