Hong, Y., X. Xu, J. Kan, and F. Chen. 2014. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 98:3219–3229.
Seasonal shifts of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and the dynamics of microbial communities for nitrogen transformation were investigated in the water column of Chesapeake Bay. The relative abundance of nitrogen over phosphorus (N*) showed a strong seasonal and spatial pattern: gradually decreased from upstream to downstream; high in winter and low in summer. Because the phosphorus concentration remained relatively stable, the spatiotemporal pattern of N* implied that a substantial fraction of DIN was removed in the bay, especially in summer. Correlation analyses indicated the functional microbial communities and environmental variables, such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, played important roles for connecting the seasonal variation of N*. Among them, temperature was the trigger factor. High temperature in the summer induced the growth of functional microbes, which subsequently consumed a large portion of DIN inputted from the tributaries and reduced the N*. The current study provided the relative importance of microbial communities and environmental variables in driving the DIN loss in the bay.