The taxonomic compositions of marine prokaryotic communities are known to follow seasonal cycles, but functional metagenomic insights into this seasonality is still limited. We analyzed a total of 22 metagenomes collected at 11 time points over a 14-month period from two sites in Sendai Bay, Japan to obtain seasonal snapshots of predicted functional profiles of the non-cyanobacterial prokaryotic community. Along with taxonomic composition, functional gene composition varied seasonally and was related to chlorophyll a concentration, water temperature, and salinity. Spring phytoplankton bloom stimulated increased abundances of putative genes that encode enzymes in amino acid metabolism pathways. Several groups of functional genes, including those related to signal transduction and cellular communication, increased in abundance during the mid- to post-bloom period, which seemed to be associated with a particle-attached lifestyle. Alternatively, genes in carbon metabolism pathways were generally more abundant in the low chlorophyll a period than the bloom period. These results indicate that changes in trophic condition associated with seasonal phytoplankton succession altered the community function of prokaryotes. Our findings on seasonal changes of predicted function provide fundamental information for future research on the mechanisms that shape marine microbial communities.
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