Project description:Prokaryotes in coastal sediments are fundamental players in the ecosystem functioning and regulate processes relevant in the global biogeochemical cycles. Nevertheless, knowledge on benthic microbial diversity patterns across spatial scales, or as function to anthropogenic influence, is still limited. We investigated the microbial diversity in two of the most chemically polluted sites along the coast of Italy. One site is the Po River Prodelta (Northern Adriatic Sea), which receives contaminant discharge from one of the largest rivers in Europe. The other site, the Mar Piccolo of Taranto (Ionian Sea), is a chronically polluted area due to steel production plants, oil refineries, and intense maritime traffic. We collected sediments from 30 stations along gradients of contamination, and studied prokaryotic diversity using Illumina sequencing of amplicons of a 16S rDNA gene fragment. The main sediment variables and the concentration of eleven metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were measured. Chemical analyses confirmed the high contamination in both sites, with concentrations of PCBs particularly high and often exceeding the sediment guidelines. The analysis of more than 3 millions 16S rDNA sequences showed that richness decreased with higher contamination levels. Multivariate analyses showed that contaminants significantly shaped community composition. Assemblages differed significantly between the two sites, but showed wide within-site variations related with spatial gradients in the chemical contamination, and the presence of a core set of OTUs shared by the two geographically distant sites. A larger importance of PCB-degrading taxa was observed in the Mar Piccolo, suggesting their potential selection in this historically polluted site. Our results indicate that sediment contamination by multiple contaminants significantly alter benthic prokaryotic diversity in coastal areas, and suggests considering the potential contribution of the resident microbes to contaminant bioremediation actions.
Project description:Mercury contents were determined in surface sediments from the Central and Southern Adriatic Sea to gain insight into the processes, factors, and variables affecting its distribution. Mercury concentration was measured by thermal decomposition amalgamation atomic absorption spectrometry in samples collected by box-corer from Ancona to Santa Maria di Leuca during the CNR-PERTRE cruise (16/9-4/10/2016). Sediments were also evaluated for chemical-physical parameters (pH, Eh), biogeochemical composition (total carbon, inorganic carbon, total organic carbon, organic matter) and grain size. The average mercury concentration in the Adriatic Sea sediment was 0.053 mg/Kg (d.w.), range 0.011-0.12 mg/Kg (d.w.). Mercury content was mainly affected by grain size and organic matter (OM) distribution, whereas anthropic factors exerted a limited influence. Concentrations followed the distribution of sediment types (clay > silt > sand) due to Adriatic Sea hydrodynamics and were well below the regulatory limits in all samples.
Project description:Following the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill in 2010, an enormous amount of oil was observed in the deep and surface waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Surface waters are characterized by intense sunlight and high temperature during summer. While the oil-degrading bacterial communities in the deep-sea plume have been widely investigated, the effect of natural sunlight on those in oil polluted surface waters remains unexplored to date. In this study, we incubated surface water from the DWH site with amendments of crude oil, Corexit dispersant, or both for 36 days under natural sunlight in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The bacterial community was analyzed over time for total abundance, density of alkane and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degraders, and community composition via pyrosequencing. Our results showed that, for treatments with oil and/or Corexit, sunlight significantly reduced bacterial diversity and evenness and was a key driver of shifts in bacterial community structure. In samples containing oil or dispersant, sunlight greatly reduced abundance of the Cyanobacterium Synechococcus but increased the relative abundances of Alteromonas, Marinobacter, Labrenzia, Sandarakinotalea, Bartonella, and Halomonas. Dark samples with oil were represented by members of Thalassobius, Winogradskyella, Alcanivorax, Formosa, Pseudomonas, Eubacterium, Erythrobacter, Natronocella, and Coxiella. Both oil and Corexit inhibited the Candidatus Pelagibacter with or without sunlight exposure. For the first time, we demonstrated the effects of light in structuring microbial communities in water with oil and/or Corexit. Overall, our findings improve understanding of oil pollution in surface water, and provide unequivocal evidence that sunlight is a key factor in determining bacterial community composition and dynamics in oil polluted marine waters.
Project description:The Caspian Sea is heavily polluted due to industrial and agricultural effluents as well as extraction of oil and gas reserves. Microbial communities can influence the fate of contaminants and nutrients. However, insight into the microbial ecology of the Caspian Sea significantly lags behind other marine systems. Here we describe microbial biomass, diversity and composition in sediments collected from three sampling stations in the Caspian Sea. Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA genes revealed the presence of a number of known bacterial and archaeal heterotrophs suggesting that organic carbon is a primary factor shaping microbial communities. Surface sediments collected from bottom waters with low oxygen levels were dominated by Gammaproteobacteria while surface sediments collected from bottom waters under hypoxic conditions were dominated by Deltaproteobacteria, specifically sulfate-reducing bacteria. Thaumarchaeota was dominant across all surface sediments indicating that nitrogen cycling in this system is strongly influenced by ammonia-oxidizing archaea. This study provides a baseline assessment that may serve as a point of reference as this system changes or as the efficacy of new remediation efforts are implemented.
Project description:In the present study the diversity and abundance of nitrifying microbes including ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and betaproteobacteria (beta-AOB) were investigated, along with the physicochemical parameters potentially affecting them, in a transect of surface sediments from the coastal margin adjacent to the Pearl River estuary to the slope in the deep South China Sea. Nitrifying microbial diversity was determined by detecting the amoA (ammonia monooxygenase subunit A) gene. An obvious community structure shift for both AOA and beta-AOB from the coastal marginal areas to the slope in the deep-sea was detected, while the OTU numbers of AOA amoA were more stable than those of the beta-AOB. The OTUs of beta-AOB increased with the distance from the coastal margin areas to the slope in the deep-sea. Beta-AOB showed lower diversity with dominant strains in a polluted area but higher diversity without dominant strains in a clean area. Moreover, the diversity of beta-AOB was correlated with pH values, while no noticeable relationships were established between AOA and physicochemical parameters. Beta-AOB was more sensitive to transect environmental variability and might be a potential indicator for environmental changes. Additionally, the surface sediments surveyed in the South China Sea harboured diverse and distinct AOA and beta-AOB phylotypes different from other environments, suggesting the endemicity of some nitrifying prokaryotes in the South China Sea.
Project description:Three metagenomic libraries were constructed using surface sediment samples from the northern Adriatic Sea. Two of the samples were taken from a highly polluted and an unpolluted site respectively. The third sample from a polluted site had been enriched using crude oil. The results of the metagenome analyses were incorporated in the REDPET relational database (http://redpet.bioinfo.pbf.hr/REDPET), which was generated using the previously developed MEGGASENSE platform. The database includes taxonomic data to allow the assessment of the biodiversity of metagenomic libraries and a general functional analysis of genes using hidden Markov model (HMM) profiles based on the KEGG database. A set of 22 specialised HMM profiles was developed to detect putative genes for hydrocarbon-degrading enzymes. Use of these profiles showed that the metagenomic library generated after selection on crude oil had enriched genes for aerobic n-alkane degradation. The use of this system for bioprospecting was exemplified using potential alkB and almA genes from this library.
Project description:Fjords and continental shelves represent distinct marine ecosystems in the pan-arctic region. Kongsfjorden is a glacial fjord that is located on the west coast of Svalbard, and is influenced by both Atlantic and Arctic water masses. The Bering Sea consists of a huge continental shelf in the northeast and a deep ocean basin in the southwest, and is influenced by Pacific water. Microbial community compositions of Arctic sediment samples BJ4 from outer basin and BJ36 from inner basin of Kongsfjorden and sub-Arctic samples NEC5 from shallow shelf and DBS1 from deep basin region of the northern Bering Sea were investigated using 454 pyrosequencing of archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA genes. Most archaeal sequences in the sediments were related to Thaumarchaeota, though Euryarchaeota were more abundant in the Arctic glacier-influencing inner basin sediment BJ36. Thaumarchaeota Group C3 was the dominant archaeal population in all samples. Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes dominated the sediment bacterial communities. Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria were also dominant in the northern Bering Sea samples. Alphaproteobacteria and Epsilonproteobacteria were the two main classes in Kongsfjorden sediment bacterial communities while Deltaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria were dominant in the northern Bering Sea sediments. Differences in the presence and abundance of other dominant archaeal and bacterial populations were observed among sediment samples. In contrast to archaeal community differences that the Arctic BJ36 archaeal community was distinct from the sub-Arctic sediments and the Arctic outer basin sediment BJ4, cluster analysis based on bacterial OTU (operational taxonomic unit) distributions indicated that the Arctic and sub-Arctic bacterial communities segregated from one another. These results suggest that the sediment archaeal and bacterial community compositions can be driven by different environmental factors. Differences in the presence and abundance of particular archaeal species (e.g., Candidatus Nitrosopumilus and Methanococcoides) or bacterial species (e.g., Sulfurimonas, Sulfurovum, and Desulfobulbaceae) involved in biogeochemical cycles were also observed among sediment samples. At the same time, despite the community variation, some phylotypes (e.g., Marinicella) were dominant in all sediments. This study indicates diverse microbial communities inhabiting pan-arctic marine sediments, and highlights potential roles for Archaea and Bacteria in global biogeochemical cycles in these environments.
Project description:The composition of the bacterial communities in the contents of the foregut and hindgut of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus and in the ambient surface sediment was surveyed by 16S rRNA gene 454-pyrosequencing. A total of 188,623 optimized reads and 15,527 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were obtained from the ten gut contents samples and four surface sediment samples. The sequences in the sediments, foregut contents, and hindgut contents were assigned to 38.0±4.7, 31.2±6.2 and 27.8±6.5 phyla, respectively. The bacterial richness and Shannon diversity index were both higher in the ambient sediments than in the gut contents. Proteobacteria was the predominant phylum in both the gut contents and sediment samples. The predominant classes in the foregut, hindgut, and ambient sediment were Holophagae and Gammaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria, respectively. The potential probiotics, including sequences related to Bacillus, lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, and Streptococcus) and Pseudomonas were detected in the gut of A. japonicus. Principle component analysis and heatmap figure showed that the foregut, hindgut, and ambient sediment respectively harbored different characteristic bacterial communities. Selective feeding of A. japonicus may be the primary source of the different bacterial communities between the foregut contents and ambient sediments.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Subseafloor sediments accumulate large amounts of organic and inorganic materials that contain a highly diverse microbial ecosystem. The aim of this study was to survey the bacterial community of subseafloor sediments from the South China Sea. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Pyrosequencing of over 265,000 amplicons of the V3 hypervariable region of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene was performed on 16 sediment samples collected from multiple locations in the northern region of the South China Sea from depths ranging from 35 to 4000 m. A total of 9,726 operational taxonomic units (OTUs; between 695 and 2819 unique OTUs per sample) at 97% sequence similarity level were generated. In total, 40 bacterial phyla including 22 formally described phyla and 18 candidate phyla, with Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi being most diverse, were identified. The most abundant phylotype, accounting for 42.6% of all sequences, belonged to Gammaproteobacteria, which possessed absolute predominance in the samples analyzed. Among the 18 candidate phyla, 12 were found for the first time in the South China Sea. CONCLUSIONS:This study provided a novel insight into the composition of bacterial communities of the South China Sea subseafloor. Furthermore, abundances and community similarity analysis showed that the compositions of the bacterial communities are very similar at phylum level at different depths from 35-4000 m.
Project description:This is the first surveillance study using methacrylate monolithic supports to concentrate environmental coastal water samples, prior to molecular target detection by RT-qPCR. Rotaviruses (RoV) and Noroviruses (NoV) were monitored in a polluted area at the Bay of Koper (Gulf of Trieste, Northern Adriatic Sea) and at a nearby bathing area and mussel farm areas. RoV and NoV are released into the Bay of Koper, with higher rates close to the discharge of the wastewater treatment plant, however, they can be detected at recreational and mussel farming areas. Our results showed that water bodies considered safe based on FC concentrations, can still have low, yet potentially infective, concentrations of human viruses.