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Influence of an oyster reef on development of the microbial heterotrophic community of an estuarine biofilm.


ABSTRACT: We characterized microbial biofilm communities developed over two very closely located but distinct benthic habitats in the Pensacola Bay estuary using two complementary cultivation-independent molecular techniques. Biofilms were grown for 7 days on glass slides held in racks 10 to 15 cm over an oyster reef and an adjacent muddy sand bottom. Total biomass and optical densities of dried biofilms showed dramatic differences for oyster reef versus non-oyster reef biofilms. This study assessed whether the observed spatial variation was reflected in the heterotrophic prokaryotic species composition. Genomic biofilm DNA from both locations was isolated and served as a template to amplify 16S rRNA genes with universal eubacterial primers. Fluorescently labeled PCR products were analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, creating a genetic fingerprint of the composition of the microbial communities. Unlabeled PCR products were cloned in order to construct a clone library of 16S rRNA genes. Amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis was used to screen and define ribotypes. Partial sequences from unique ribotypes were compared with existing database entries to identify species and to construct phylogenetic trees representative of community structures. A pronounced difference in species richness and evenness was observed at the two sites. The biofilm community structure from the oyster reef setting had greater evenness and species richness than the one from the muddy sand bottom. The vast majority of the bacteria in the oyster reef biofilm were related to members of the gamma- and delta-subdivisions of Proteobacteria, the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium -Bacteroides cluster, and the phyla Planctomyces and Holophaga-Acidobacterium. The same groups were also present in the biofilm harvested at the muddy sand bottom, with the difference that nearly half of the community consisted of representatives of the Planctomyces phylum. Total species richness was estimated to be 417 for the oyster reef and 60 for the muddy sand bottom, with 10.5% of the total unique species identified being shared between habitats. The results suggest dramatic differences in habitat-specific microbial diversity that have implications for overall microbial diversity within estuaries.

SUBMITTER: Nocker A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC525144 | BioStudies | 2004-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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