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Aquatic microbial diversity: A sensitive and robust tool for assessing ecosystem health and functioning
Expanded Title:Estuaries are aquatic ecosystems that are ecologically and economically important. In addition to providing nurseries for marine fish and feeding/staging sites for migratory birds, estuaries provide opportunity for tourism and accommodation. Stresses on estuaries have escalated because of urban, agricultural and industrial development. Many studies have been completed on the macro-fauna and macro-flora of estuaries, but few studies have examined the microbial foodweb. This study set out to characterise microbial communities in 4 estuarine systems of the Eastern Cape, and to establish links between physic-chemical characteristics of the estuaries and their microbial diversity. Protocols were developed for sample collection and template preparation to complete Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and analysis of 16S rRNA sequences of estuarine water and sediment. It was found that: (i) Bacterial communities in the estuaries examined, differed significantly from reported data; (ii) Microbial assemblages in the water column differed from those in the sediment; (iii) Species diversity in the sediment was several-fold higher than that in the water column; (iv) Changes in the abundance of dominant microbial species in sediment samples were not observed in the water column along the length of estuaries with apparently small salinity and nutrient gradients. The findings strongly support the need to focus on sediment sampling when monitoring estuary health. Advance regarding the new NGS technologies has substantially decreased the cost of generating sequence datasets which could make this a feasible technology for monitoring of sensitive estuarine systems. Matcher
Date Published:01/03/2015
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Ecosystem - Biodiversity protection
Document Keywords:Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2038/1/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0643-8
Authors:Matcher GF; Froneman PW; Dorrington RA
Project No:K5/2038
Originator:WRC
Organizations:Rhodes University
Document Size:2 810 KB
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