Michael Schauer

Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wien, Vienna, Austria

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Publications (11)35.59 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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2007 · International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2006 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2006 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2005 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · May 2005 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2005 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: The factors controlling prokaryote abundance and activity along salinity gradients were investigated in the Bras del Port solar saltern system (Alacant, Spain) in May 1999. Specific growth rates were high and prokaryote abundance relatively low at the lowest (seawater) salinities; the opposite was found at higher salinities. Experiments were carried out in representative salterns at salinities of 4 to 37%, to test whether prokaryote abundance and growth rate were (1) limited by inorganic or organic nutrients (nutrient addition experiments), (2) limited by cell abundance (dilution experiments), or (3) affected by zooplankton cascading down to affect the prokaryote predators. Low-salinity ponds were limited by organic nutrients, while high-salinity ponds responded slightly only to dilution. Zooplankton affected prokaryote growth rates particularly in the medium-salinity ponds. In the low salinity ponds, zooplankton effects were weak and probably indirect (through increased supply of organic matter). Neither organic matter limitation nor zooplankton predation pressure affected prokaryote development in the higher salinity ponds. We suggest that 3 types of functional communities occur in the same saltern system: (1) an active, substrate-limited community in the low salinity ponds; (2) an active, grazer-controlled community in the medium salinity ponds; and (3) a possibly dormant, probably substrate-limited, community in the high salinity ponds. However, the results at the highest salinities were equivocal, because the dilution manipulation had detrimental effects, artificially decreasing the contribution of the haloarchaea, which were essential contributors to the total activity in the saltern. Bacterial taxonomic community composition was also determined in these experiments by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analyses on 16S rRNA genes, and showed very small changes in community composition in the experimental manipulations. Together with the known microbial community structure and composition at differing salinities along the gradient, our results show that functional aspects of the microbial food web also vary between salterns.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2004 · Aquatic Microbial Ecology
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    M Schauer · V Balagué · C Pedrós-Alió · R Massana
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    ABSTRACT: The succession of taxa within the bacterioplankton assemblage was followed over a whole seasonal cycle in Blanes Bay, an oligotrophic coastal system (average chl a: 0.5 mug l(-1)) in the NW Mediterranean Sea. Phylogenetic composition of the bacterioplankton was studied by means of DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) and sequencing of predominant bands. Analysis of DGGE fingerprints showed gradual changes in the dominant bacterial members over the sampling period. The time scale during which a single population appeared in significant amounts in the system ranged between weeks and months. Most of the DGGE bands sequenced showed high similarities to sequences of uncultured marine bacteria. The bacterial assemblage appeared to be dominated by members of alpha-Proteobacteria (mostly from the Roseobacter clade), Cytophaga-Flavobacteria-Bacteroides (CFB) and cyanobacteria throughout the year. Two bands related to prasinophyte chloroplasts were detected, whereas no bands related to SAR11 (alpha-Proteobacteria) or SAR86 (gamma-Proteobacteria) clusters were found. Contrasting with the relative stability of broad phylogenetic groups, examination of bands belonging to alpha-Proteobacteria, CFB and cyanobacteria revealed a substitution of closely related phylotypes during the seasonal cycle within each one of these 3 groups. Overall, the taxonomic composition of the bacterioplankton in this coastal marine system appeared to be rather stable in time, showing gradual changes throughout the year.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2003 · Aquatic Microbial Ecology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2003 · Applied and Environmental Microbiology
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    Michael Schauer · Ramon Massana · C Pedrós-Alió
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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.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2000 · FEMS Microbiology Ecology
  • M Schauer

    No preview · Article · Jan 2000 · FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Publication Stats

828 Citations
35.59 Total Impact Points


  • 2003-2007
    • Austrian Academy of Sciences
      • Institute for Limnology
      Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • 2006
    • Chinese Academy of Sciences
      • State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environments
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 2000
    • Institut de Ciències del Mar
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain