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PLoS One. 2019 Feb 14;14(2):e0212355. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212355. eCollection 2019.

Community ecology across bacteria, archaea and microbial eukaryotes in the sediment and seawater of coastal Puerto Nuevo, Baja California.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, School of Natural Sciences, University of California Merced, Merced, CA, United States of America.
2
Quantitative and Systems Biology Graduate Program, University of California Merced, Merced, CA, United States of America.
3
Department of Energy, Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, CA, United States of America.
4
Department of Biomedical Innovation, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE), Ensenada, Baja California, México.
5
Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Sciences, University of California Merced, Merced, CA, United States of America.

Abstract

Microbial communities control numerous biogeochemical processes critical for ecosystem function and health. Most analyses of coastal microbial communities focus on the characterization of bacteria present in either sediment or seawater, with fewer studies characterizing both sediment and seawater together at a given site, and even fewer studies including information about non-bacterial microbial communities. As a result, knowledge about the ecological patterns of microbial biodiversity across domains and habitats in coastal communities is limited-despite the fact that archaea, bacteria, and microbial eukaryotes are present and known to interact in coastal habitats. To better understand microbial biodiversity patterns in coastal ecosystems, we characterized sediment and seawater microbial communities for three sites along the coastline of Puerto Nuevo, Baja California, Mexico using both 16S and 18S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. We found that sediment hosted approximately 500-fold more operational taxonomic units (OTUs) for bacteria, archaea, and microbial eukaryotes than seawater (p < 0.001). Distinct phyla were found in sediment versus seawater samples. Of the top ten most abundant classes, Cytophagia (bacterial) and Chromadorea (eukaryal) were specific to the sediment environment, whereas Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidia (bacterial) and Chlorophyceae (eukaryal) were specific to the seawater environment. A total of 47 unique genera were observed to comprise the core taxa community across environment types and sites. No archaeal taxa were observed as part of either the abundant or core taxa. No significant differences were observed for sediment community composition across domains or between sites. For seawater, the bacterial and archaeal community composition was statistically different for the Major Outlet site (p < 0.05), the site closest to a residential area, and the eukaryal community composition was statistically different between all sites (p < 0.05). Our findings highlight the distinct patterns and spatial heterogeneity in microbial communities of a coastal region in Baja California, Mexico.

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