The environmental factors controlling the abundance of Bacteria and Archaea in lagoon ecosystems are poorly understood. Here, an integrated physico-chemical, biogeochemical, and microbiological survey was applied in the Sacca di Goro lagoon (Po River Delta, Italy) to investigate the variation of bacterial and archaeal abundance, as assessed by Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization, along winter and summer environmental gradients. We hypothesised that bacterial and archaeal cells respond differentially to physico-chemical parameters of the sediment, which can be manifested in variations of total cells number. Our results suggest that Archaea are an important component of microbial communities (up to 20%) and they are also quite constant along the sediment depth investigated, while Bacteria tend to decrease in the subsurface sediments. The abiotic (i.e. temperature, ammonium, pH) and trophic parameters (i.e. chlorophyll a) explain differentially the variations of bacterial and archaeal distribution, and raise interesting questions about the ecological significance of the microbial composition in this area.
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