Unraveling the environmental and anthropogenic drivers of bacterial community changes in the Estuary of Bilbao and its tributaries
Aguirre Rodrigo, Mikel
Abad García, David
Albaina Vivanco, Aitor
Goñi-Urriza, María Soledad
Estomba Recalde, Miren Andone
Zarraonaindia Martínez, Iratxe
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PLOS ONE 12(6) : (2017) // Article ID e0178755
In this study, 16S rRNA gene sequencing was used to characterize the changes in taxonomic composition and environmental factors significantly influencing bacterial community structure across an annual cycle in the Estuary of Bilbao as well as its tributaries. In spite of this estuary being small and characterized by a short residence time, the environmental factors most highly correlated with the bacterial community mirrored those reported to govern larger estuaries, specifically salinity and temperature. Additionally, bacterial community changes in the estuary appeared to vary with precipitation. For example, an increase in freshwater bacteria (Comamonadaceae and Sphingobacteriaceae) was observed in high precipitation periods compared to the predominately marine-like bacteria (Rhodobacterales and Oceanospirillales) that were found in low precipitation periods. Notably, we observed a significantly higher relative abundance of Comamonadaceae than previously described in other estuaries. Furthermore, anthropic factors could have an impact on this particular estuary's bacterial community structure. For example, ecosystem changes related to the channelization of the estuary likely induced a low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, high temperature, and high chlorophyll concentration period in the inner euhaline water in summer (samples with salinity >30 ppt). Those samples were characterized by a high abundance of facultative anaerobes. For instance, OTUs classified as Cryomorphaceae and Candidatus Aquiluna rubra were negatively associated with DO concentration, while Oleiphilaceae was positively associated with DO concentration. Additionally, microorganisms related to biological treatment of wastewater (e.g Bdellovibrio and Zoogloea) were detected in the samples immediately downstream of the Bilbao Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). There are several human activities planned in the region surrounding the Estuary of Bilbao (e.g. sediment draining, architectural changes, etc.) which will likely affect this ecosystem. Therefore, the addition of bacterial community profiling and diversity analysis into the estuary's ongoing monitoring program would provide a more comprehensive view of the ecological status of the Estuary of Bilbao.
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