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Environ Pollut. 2018 May;236:807-816. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.12.027.

Evidence of niche partitioning among bacteria living on plastics, organic particles and surrounding seawaters.

Author information

1
Sorbonne Universités, CNRS, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7621, Laboratoire d'Océanographie Microbienne, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, Banyuls sur mer, France.
2
Laboratoire Charles Coulomb (L2C), Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, Montpellier, France.
3
Institut des Biomolécules Max Mousseron, CNRS UMR5247, Université de Montpellier, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier, BP 14491, F-34093, Montpellier cedex5, France.
4
Symphony Environmental Ltd, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 1JD, UK.
5
Sorbonne Universités, CNRS, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7093, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, Villefranche sur mer, France.
6
Sorbonne Universités, CNRS, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7621, Laboratoire d'Océanographie Microbienne, Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, Banyuls sur mer, France. Electronic address: ghiglione@obs-banyuls.fr.

Abstract

Plastic pollution is widespread in ocean ecosystems worldwide, but it is unknown if plastic offers a unique habitat for bacteria compared to communities in the water column and attached to naturally-occurring organic particles. The large set of samples taken during the Tara-Mediterranean expedition revealed for the first time a clear niche partitioning between free-living (FL), organic particle-attached (PA) and the recently introduced plastic marine debris (PMD). Bacterial counts in PMD presented higher cell enrichment factors than generally observed for PA fraction, when compared to FL bacteria in the surrounding waters. Taxonomic diversity was also higher in the PMD communities, where higher evenness indicated a favorable environment for a very large number of species. Cyanobacteria were particularly overrepresented in PMD, together with essential functions for biofilm formation and maturation. The community distinction between the three habitats was consistent across the large-scale sampling in the Western Mediterranean basin. 'Plastic specific bacteria' recovered only on the PMD represented half of the OTUs, thus forming a distinct habitat that should be further considered for understanding microbial biodiversity in changing marine ecosystems.

KEYWORDS:

Biofouling; Microbial ecotoxicology; Plastisphere

PMID:
29459335
DOI:
10.1016/j.envpol.2017.12.027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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