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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Sep;72(9):5679-88.

Stability and change in estuarine biofilm bacterial community diversity.

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  • 1Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL 32514, USA.


Biofouling communities contribute significantly to aquatic ecosystem productivity and biogeochemical cycling. Our knowledge of the distribution, composition, and activities of these microbially dominated communities is limited compared to other components of estuarine ecosystems. This study investigated the temporal stability and change of the dominant phylogenetic groups of the domain Bacteria in estuarine biofilm communities. Glass slides were deployed monthly over 1 year for 7-day incubations during peak tidal periods in East Sabine Bay, Fla. Community profiling was achieved by using 16S rRNA genes and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of 16S rRNA genes in combination with ribotyping, cloning, and sequencing to evaluate diversity and to identify dominant microorganisms. Bacterial community profiles from biofilms grown near the benthos showed distinct periods of constancy within winter and summer sampling periods. Similar periods of stability were also seen in T-RFLP patterns from floating biofilms. Alternating dominance of phylogenetic groups between seasons appeared to be associated with seasonal changes in temperature, nutrient availability, and light. The community structure appeared to be stable during these periods despite changes in salinity and in dissolved oxygen.

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