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Front Microbiol. 2018 Mar 27;9:578. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00578. eCollection 2018.

Benthic Algal Community Structures and Their Response to Geographic Distance and Environmental Variables in the Qinghai-Tibetan Lakes With Different Salinity.

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State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China.


Uncovering the limiting factors for benthic algal distributions in lakes is of great importance to understanding of their role in global carbon cycling. However, limited is known about the benthic algal community distribution and how they are influenced by geographic distance and environmental variables in alpine lakes. Here, we investigated the benthic algal community compositions in the surface sediments of six lakes on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), China (salinity ranging from 0.8 to 365.6 g/L; pairwise geographic distance among the studied lakes ranging 8-514 km) employing an integrated approach including Illumina-Miseq sequencing and environmental geochemistry. The results showed that the algal communities of the studied samples were mainly composed of orders of Bacillariales, Ceramiales, Naviculales, Oscillatoriales, Spirulinales, Synechococcales, and Vaucheriales. The benthic algal community compositions in these QTP lakes were significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with many environmental (e.g., dissolved inorganic and organic carbon, illumination intensity, total nitrogen and phosphorus, turbidity and water temperature) and spatial factors, and salinity did not show significant influence on the benthic algal community structures in the studied lakes. Furthermore, geographic distance showed strong, significant correlation (r = 0.578, p < 0.001) with the benthic algal community compositions among the studied lakes, suggesting that spatial factors may play important roles in influencing the benthic algal distribution. These results expand our current knowledge on the influencing factors for the distributions of benthic alga in alpine lakes.


Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau; benthic algal community; geographic distance; lakes; salinity

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