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PLoS One. 2015 Mar 17;10(3):e0119741. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119741. eCollection 2015.

Multivariate and phylogenetic analyses assessing the response of bacterial mat communities from an ancient oligotrophic aquatic ecosystem to different scenarios of long-term environmental disturbance.

Author information

1
Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, CU, Mexico City, Mexico.

Abstract

Understanding the response of bacterial communities to environmental change is extremely important in predicting the effect of biogeochemical modifications in ecosystem functioning. The Cuatro Cienegas Basin is an ancient oasis in the Mexican Chihuahuan desert that hosts a wide diversity of microbial mats and stromatolites that have survived in extremely oligotrophic pools with nearly constant conditions. However, thus far, the response of these unique microbial communities to long-term environmental disturbances remains unexplored. We therefore studied the compositional stability of these bacterial mat communities by using a replicated (3x) mesocosm experiment: a) Control; b) Fluct: fluctuating temperature; c) 40C: increase to 40 ºC; d) UVplus: artificial increase in UV radiation; and f) UVmin: UV radiation protection. In order to observe the changes in biodiversity, we obtained 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from microbial mats at the end of the experiment (eight months) and analyzed them using multivariate and phylogenetic tools. Sequences were assigned to 13 major lineages, among which Cyanobacteria (38.8%) and Alphaproteobacteria (25.5%) were the most abundant. The less extreme treatments (Control and UVmin) had a more similar composition and distribution of the phylogenetic groups with the natural pools than the most extreme treatments (Fluct, 40C, and UVplus), which showed drastic changes in the community composition and structure, indicating a different community response to each environmental disturbance. An increase in bacterial diversity was found in the UVmin treatment, suggesting that protected environments promote the establishment of complex bacterial communities, while stressful environments reduce diversity and increase the dominance of a few Cyanobacterial OTUs (mainly Leptolyngbya sp) through environmental filtering. Mesocosm experiments using complex bacterial communities, along with multivariate and phylogenetic analyses of molecular data, can assist in addressing questions about bacterial responses to long-term environmental stress.

PMID:
25781013
PMCID:
PMC4363631
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0119741
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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