Characterization of phycoerythrin-containing Synechococcus spp. populations by immunofluorescence Academic Article uri icon


  • Using an immunofluorescence assay developed to identify serogroups (i.e. clusters of strains labelled by one antiserum), the composition of natural populations of phycoerythrin-containing Synechococcus spp. was examined. The 7803 (open ocean clone)-serogroup was found in most oceanic regions, but was most prevalent (up to 85%) in tropical and subtropical waters during spring and summer. At coastal Long Island stations it was most abundant (up to 65%) when water temperatures were >22°C. The seasonal and geographic distribution of the 7803-serogroup appeared to be limited by water temperature. No consistent pattern was observed in the per cent composition with depth in the Sargasso Sea or at coastal to offshore stations in the North-west Atlantic Ocean or eastern tropical North Pacific Ocean. The 8016 (coastal clone)-serogroup was abundant at coastal and estuarine stations off Long Island (up to 95 %) and its appearance was also correlated with warm water temperature (> 15°C). However, this serogroup remained a constant proportion of the population at the Long Island Sound station during early winter months (through January) when abundance of the 7803-serogroup was negligible. Owing to limited data, the oceanic distribution of the 8016-serogroup is not yet discernible. Lastly, antisera to the phycocyanin-dominant Synechococcus spp. clones failed to label any cells in samples collected from several oceanic stations. Thus, these strains appear to be limited to coastal and estuarine regions, which is consistent with predictions from experiments comparing the photosynthetic performance of the phycoerythrin-dominant and phycocyanin-dominant clones. © 1987 IRL Press Limited.

author list (cited authors)

  • Campbell, L., & Carpenter, E. J.

citation count

  • 75

publication date

  • January 1987