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Title: Disturbed subsurface microbial communities follow equivalent trajectories despite different structural starting points

We explored the impact of the starting community composition and structure on ecosystem response to perturbations using organic carbon amendment experiments. Subsurface sediment was partitioned into flow-through columns, and the microbial communities were initially stimulated in situ by addition of acetate as a carbon and electron donor source. This drove community richness and evenness down, and pushed the system into a new biogeochemical state characterized by iron reduction. Reconstructed near-full-length 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis indicated a concomitant enrichment of Desulfuromonadales, Comamonadaceae and Bacteroidetes lineages. After 10 to 12 days, acetate was exchange for lactate in a subset of columns. Following the clear onset of sulfate reduction (35 days after acetate-amendment), acetate was substituted for lactate in additional columns. Acetatestimulated communities differed markedly during each biogeochemical regime and at each lactate-switch. Regardless, however, of when communities were switched to lactate, they followed comparable trajectories with respect to composition and structure, with convergence evident one week after each switch, and marked after one month of lactate amendment. During sulfate reduction all treatments were enriched in Firmicutes and a number of species likely involved in sulfate reduction (notably Desulfobulbus, Desulfosporosinus, Desulfitobacterium and Desulfotomaculum). Lactate treatments were distinguished by substantially lower relative abundancesmore » of Desulfotomaculum and Bacteroidetes, and enrichments of Psychrosinus and Clostridiales species. Results imply that the structure of the starting community was not significant in controlling organism selection in community succession.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Environmental Microbiology, 17(3):622-636
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
disturbance; community succession; subsurface; aquifer; sediment; biogeochemistry; beta diversity; trajectory convergence