02 May 2020
The dust storms from the continent usually affect the abundance and diversity of planktons by supplying trace elements. As such, the response of heterotrophic planktonic bacteria to dusts, nutrients ( i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus) or ferrous dosages was investigated in the Kuroshio Extension region of the Northwest Pacific Ocean (NWPO) through on-board incubation experiments during an oceanographic survey in spring 2014. The flow cytometry and 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing methods were applied to explore the abundance and community structure of bacteria, and the percentage of high nucleic acid bacteria (HNA%). The results showed that the heterotrophic bacteria abundance was low (average 2.55 × 10 5 cells mL −1) and subjected to both nitrogen (N) and ferrous (Fe) limitation. Sand-dust deposition observably promoted the activity of heterotrophic planktonic bacteria. The maximum abundance of heterotrophic bacteria was 6.98 × 10 5 cells mL −1 in the dust-dosage group, which was 44% higher than the control ( P < 0.05). The HNA% in the dust-dosage group was 1.37 times higher than the control ( P < 0.05). The activation mechanism was mainly related to the dissolution of N and Fe in the dusts. The relative abundance of genus Winogradskyella was significantly increased by dust deposition while the relative abundance of the genera Tenacibaculum and Hyphomonas was decreased. These variations of bacterial community structure were ascribed to the dissolution of nutrients N and P. Comparing the results of different experimental groups, this study concluded that dust storm improved the abundance of heterotrophic bacteria by dissolution of N and Fe.