Apr 9, 2020

Microbial community composition is affected by press, but not pulse, seawater intrusion

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
C. MobilianChristopher B Craft

Abstract

Tidal freshwater marshes (TFMs) are threatened by seawater intrusion, which can affect microbial communities and alter biogeochemical processes. Here, we report on Seawater Addition Long Term Experiment (SALTEx), a manipulative field experiment that investigated continuous (press) and episodic (pulse, 2 months/yr) inputs of brackish water on microbial communities in a TFM. After 2.5 years, microbial diversity was lower in press treatments than in control (untreated) plots. Sulfate reducers increased in response to both press and pulse treatments whereas methanogens did not differ among treatments. Our results suggest that microbial communities in TFMs are resilient to episodic events, but that continuous seawater intrusion may alter bacterial diversity in ways that affect ecosystem functioning.

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