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Title: Phototrophic Biofilm Assembly in Microbial-Mat-Derived Unicyanobacterial Consortia: Model Systems for the Study of Autotroph-Heterotroph Interactions

Though microbial autotroph-heterotroph interactions influence biogeochemical cycles on a global scale, the diversity and complexity of natural systems and their intractability to in situ environmental manipulation makes elucidation of the principles governing these interactions challenging. Examination of primary succession during phototrophic biofilm assembly provides a robust means by which to elucidate the dynamics of such interactions and determine their influence upon recruitment and maintenance of phylogenetic and functional diversity in microbial communities. We isolated and characterized two unicyanobacterial consortia from the Hot Lake phototrophic mat, quantifying the structural and community composition of their assembling biofilms. The same heterotrophs were retained in both consortia and included members of Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes, taxa frequently reported as consorts of microbial photoautotrophs. Cyanobacteria led biofilm assembly, eventually giving way to a late heterotrophic bloom. The consortial biofilms exhibited similar patterns of assembly, with the relative abundances of members of Bacteroidetes and Alphaproteobacteria increasing and members of Gammaproteobacteria decreasing as colonization progressed. Despite similar trends in assembly at higher taxa, the consortia exhibited substantial differences in community structure at the species level. These similar patterns of assembly with divergent community structures suggest that, while similar niches are created by the metabolism of the cyanobacteria,more » the resultant webs of autotroph-heterotroph and heterotroph-heterotroph interactions driving metabolic exchange are specific to each primary producer. Altogether, our data support these Hot Lake unicyanobacterial consortia as generalizable model systems whose simplicity and tractability permit the deciphering of community assembly principles relevant to natural microbial communities.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47430; 4992; 47977; KP1601010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Frontiers in Microbiology, 5:Article No. 109
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Hot Lake; phototrophic microbial mats; autotroph-heterotroph interactions; model system; community structure; microbial diversity; unicyanobacterial consortia; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory