Michael Schauer

Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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Publications (10)29.39 Total impact

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    Martin W Hahn, Michael Schauer
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    ABSTRACT: Filamentous bacteria frequently occurring in the pelagic zone of natural freshwater lakes and ponds were previously identified as being related to Haliscomenobacter hydrossis based upon their 16S rRNA gene sequences. These bacteria exhibit a specific morphology characterized by the formation of straight, stick-like filaments of variable length (5 to >100 microm) and quite stable, but narrow, width (0.25 to 0.35 microm). Bacteria with these morphological characteristics form a monophyletic but broad phylogenetic group with a maximal divergence of 16S rRNA gene sequences of 12.0 %. This monophyletic group consists of at least three monophyletic subclusters. H. hydrossis is affiliated to one of these subclusters and represents the sole recognized species affiliated to the broad monophyletic group. 'Candidatus Haliscomenobacter calcifugiens' and 'Candidatus Aquirestis calciphila' are uncultured representatives of the other two subclusters and have 16S rRNA gene sequence dissimilarities of 5.4 % and 8.2 %, respectively, with the type strain of H. hydrossis. 'Candidatus H. calcifugiens' and 'Candidatus A. calciphila' have a 16S rRNA gene sequence dissimilarity of 8.5 %. These large ribosomal divergences justify the classification of these environmentally important bacteria as a novel species and a new genus, respectively. Intensive attempts to cultivate these filamentous bacteria have resulted in the establishment of mixed cultures, however, attempts to establish pure cultures have failed.
    International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology 06/2007; 57(Pt 5):936-40. · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The influence of altitude and salinity on bacterioplankton community composition (BCC) in 16 high-mountain lakes located at altitudes of 2,817 to 5,134 m on the Eastern Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau, China, spanning a salinity gradient from 0.02% (freshwater) to 22.3% (hypersaline), was investigated. Three different methods, fluorescent in situ hybridization, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) with subsequent band sequencing, and reverse line blot hybridization (RLB) with probes targeting 17 freshwater bacterial groups, were used for analysis of BCC. Furthermore, the salt tolerances of 47 strains affiliated with groups detected in or isolated from the Tibetan habitats were investigated. Altitude was not found to influence BCC significantly within the investigated range. Several groups of typical freshwater bacteria, e.g., the ACK-M1 cluster and the Polynucleobacter group, were detected in habitats located above 4,400 m. Salinity was found to be the dominating environmental factor controlling BCC in the investigated lakes, resulting in only small overlaps in the BCCs of freshwater and hypersaline lakes. The relative abundances of different classes of Proteobacteria showed a sharp succession along the salinity gradient. Both DGGE and RLB demonstrated that a few freshwater bacterial groups, e.g., GKS98 and LD2, appeared over wide salinity ranges. Six freshwater isolates affiliated with the GKS98 cluster grew in ecophysiological experiments at maximum salinities of 0.3% to 0.7% (oligosaline), while this group was detected in habitats with salinities up to 6.7% (hypersaline). This observation indicated ecologically significant differences in ecophysiological adaptations among members of this narrow phylogenetic group and suggested ecological significance of microdiversity.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 09/2006; 72(8):5478-85. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    Michael Schauer, Jing Jiang, Martin W Hahn
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    ABSTRACT: The spatial and temporal variation of SOL cluster bacteria was assessed in oligomesotrophic Lake Mondsee and adjacent lakes by fluorescence in situ hybridization over two annual cycles. The filamentous SOL bacteria were present in Lake Mondsee throughout the study period, and the seasonal dynamics of the SOL community were remarkably similar with respect to both abundance and composition in the two consecutive years. Only two of the three SOL subclusters were detected in Lake Mondsee and four connected lakes. These two populations significantly differed in size distribution and demonstrated pronounced but recurrent differences in seasonality and length of period of appearance in Lake Mondsee. Extensive sampling of the lakes in September 2003 revealed low horizontal variation in the composition of the SOL community within Lake Mondsee but marked variations with depth. Between connected habitats pronounced differences in the composition and abundance of the SOL community were detected. The interaction of SOL bacteria with bacterivorous protists, mesozooplankton, and phytoplankton was investigated in order to reveal variables controlling the structure and dynamics of SOL communities. No strong indication for a bottom-up influence of phytoplankton was found, while the estimated community grazing rates of mesozooplankton on SOL bacteria indicated a top-down control of SOL abundance during mesozooplankton peaks in spring and early autumn. Furthermore, species-specific differences in grazing of mesozooplankton on SOL bacteria were observed. In general, the overall composition of SOL communities was controlled by abiotic factors (water chemistry), while their dynamics seemed to be controlled by abiotic and biotic interactions.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 08/2006; 72(7):4704-12. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    Michael Schauer, Christian Kamenik, Martin W Hahn
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    ABSTRACT: Members of the monophyletic SOL cluster are large filamentous bacteria inhabiting the pelagic zone of many freshwater habitats. The abundances of SOL bacteria and compositions of SOL communities in samples from 115 freshwater ecosystems around the globe were determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization with cluster- and subcluster-specific oligonucleotide probes. The vast majority (73%) of sampled ecosystems harbored SOL bacteria, and all three previously described SOL subclusters (LD2, HAL, and GKS2-217) were detected. The morphometric and chemicophysical parameters and trophic statuses of ecosystems were related to the occurrence and subcluster-specific composition of SOL bacteria by multivariate statistical methods. SOL bacteria did not occur in acidic lakes (pH < 6), and their abundance was negatively related to high trophy and pH. The subcluster-specific variation in the compositions of SOL communities could be related to the pH, electrical conductivity, altitude, and trophic status of ecosystems. All three known SOL subclusters differed in respect to their tolerated ranges of pH and conductivity. Complete niche separation was observed between the vicarious subclusters GKS2-217 and LD2; the former occurred in soft-water lakes, whereas the latter was found in a broad range of hard-water habitats. The third subgroup (HAL) showed a wide environmental tolerance and was usually found sympatrically with the LD2 or GKS2-217 subcluster. Ecological differentiation of SOL bacteria at the subcluster level was most probably driven by differential adaptation to water chemistry. The distribution of the two vicarious taxa seems to be predominantly controlled by the geological backgrounds of the catchment areas of the habitats.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 10/2005; 71(10):5900-7. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the effects of nutrient availability and protistan grazing on bacterial dynamics and community composition (BCC) in different parts of the canyon-shaped Rímov reservoir (Czech Republic). The effects of protistan grazing on BCC were examined using a size fractionation approach. Water from the dam area with only bacteria (<0.8 microm), bacteria and heterotrophic nanoflagellates (<5 microm), or whole water were incubated in situ inside dialysis bags. Top-down or predator manipulations (size fractionation) were also combined with bottom-up or resource manipulations, i.e., transplantation of samples to the middle and upper inflow parts of the reservoir with increased phosphorus availability. Significant genotypic shifts in BCC occurred with transplantation as indicated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Using different probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization, we found that 10 to 50% of total bacteria were members of the phylogenetically small cluster of beta-proteobacteria (targeted with the probe R-BT065). These rod-shaped cells of very uniform size were vulnerable to predation but very fast growing and responded markedly to the different experimental manipulations. In all the grazer-free treatments, the members of the R-BT065 cluster showed the highest net growth rates of all studied bacterial groups. Moreover, their relative abundance was highly correlated with bacterial bulk parameters and proportions of bacteria with high nucleic acid (HNA) content. In contrast, increasing protistan bacterivory yielded lower proportions of R-BT065-positive and HNA bacteria substituted by increasing proportions of the class Actinobacteria, which profited from the enhanced protistan bacterivory.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 05/2005; 71(5):2381-90. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    Michael Schauer, Martin W Hahn
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    ABSTRACT: Filamentous bacteria with a conspicuous morphology were found in the majority of the bacterioplankton samples from a variety of freshwater habitats that were studied. These heterotrophic filaments typically account for < 1 to 11% of the total number of bacteria. The biovolume of this morphotype can exceed 40% of the biovolume for all bacteria. Surprisingly, we found hardly any data on these morphologically conspicuous filaments in the literature. Mixed cultures containing these filamentous bacteria were established by cultivation and isolation experiments with samples from different freshwater lakes. Nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained from several mixed cultures and environmental samples from habitats in Europe, Africa, China, Australia, and New Zealand. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences showed that three groups form a single monophyletic cluster, the SOL cluster, in the family Saprospiraceae. We developed a set of six nested probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization. Of the six probes, one probe was specific for Haliscomenobacter hydrossis, three probes were specific for the three subclusters (each probe was specific for one subcluster), one probe was specific for the entire SOL cluster, and another probe targeted almost the entire Saprospiraceae family. Specific hybridization of environmental samples and enrichments showed that the members of the three subclusters exhibited the same filamentous morphology. So far, using the subcluster-specific probes, we have not been able to detect any bacteria with a differing morphology. We conclude that the SOL cluster bacteria are an integral part of bacterioplankton in many freshwater habitats. They potentially account for a large fraction of the total bacterial biomass but have been underrepresented in molecular diversity studies so far.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 04/2005; 71(4):1931-40. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    Aquatic Microbial Ecology - AQUAT MICROB ECOL. 01/2004; 34:193-206.
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the first freshwater members of the class Actinobacteria that have been isolated. Nine ultramicro-size (<0.1 microm(3)) strains were isolated from five freshwater habitats in Europe and Asia. These habitats represent a broad spectrum of ecosystems, ranging from deep oligotrophic lakes to shallow hypertrophic lakes. Even when the isolated strains were grown in very rich media, the cell size was <0.1 microm(3) and was indistinguishable from the cell sizes of bacteria belonging to the smaller size classes of natural lake bacterioplankton. Hybridization of the isolates with oligonucleotide probes and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequences of the isolated strains revealed that they are affiliated with the class Actinobacteria and the family Microbacteriaceae. The previously described species with the highest levels of sequence similarity are Clavibacter michiganensis and Rathayibacter tritici, two phytopathogens of terrestrial plants. The 16S rRNA gene sequences of the nine isolates examined are more closely related to cloned sequences from uncultured freshwater bacteria than to the sequences of any previously isolated bacteria. The nine ultramicrobacteria isolated form, together with several uncultured bacteria, a diverse phylogenetic cluster (Luna cluster) consisting exclusively of freshwater bacteria. Isolates obtained from lakes that are ecologically different and geographically separated by great distances possess identical 16S rRNA gene sequences but have clearly different ecophysiological and phenotypic traits. Predator-prey experiments demonstrated that at least one of the ultramicro-size isolates is protected against predation by the bacterivorous nanoflagellate Ochromonas sp. strain DS.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 03/2003; 69(3):1442-51. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    Aquatic Microbial Ecology - AQUAT MICROB ECOL. 01/2003; 31:163-174.
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    ABSTRACT: Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments was used to compare surface bacterioplankton assemblages along the Catalan coast (NW Mediterranean). Samples from three coastal stations were compared with samples taken inside the Barcelona harbour and open sea samples taken during a cruise. The bacterial assemblage of each sample showed a characteristic and reproducible DGGE fingerprint. Between 17 and 35 bands were detected in each sample, and about 40% of the bands accounted for more than 80% of the band intensity in each sample. The presence of bands as well as their relative intensity was used to compare bacterial assemblages. Clear differences between the harbour samples and the coastal samples were evident during all periods. Marked temporal changes in the bacterial assemblages were detectable for the coastal sites, suggesting seasonal succession of coastal bacterioplankton. During each season, two stations presented a very similar bacterial composition (Barcelona and Masnou) whereas bacterial assemblages in Blanes were slightly different. These differences were consistent with the different hydrography of the area. Diversity indices calculated from DGGE fingerprints were relatively similar for all samples analysed, even though harbour samples were expected to present lower diversity values.
    FEMS Microbiology Ecology 08/2000; 33(1):51-59. · 3.56 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

567 Citations
29.39 Total Impact Points


  • 2005–2007
    • Austrian Academy of Sciences
      • Institut für Limnologie
      Vienna, Vienna, Austria
    • Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
      • Institute of Hydrobiology
      Praha, Praha, Czech Republic
  • 2006
    • Chinese Academy of Sciences
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 2000
    • Spanish National Research Council
      • Institute of Marine Sciences
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain