AEI 8:637-646 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00204

Bacterial community composition of flocculent matter under a salmonid aquaculture site in Newfoundland, Canada

Joost T. P. Verhoeven1, Flora Salvo2, Dounia Hamoutene2, Suzanne C. Dufour1,* 

1Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL A1B 3X9, Canada
2Science Branch, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, PO Box 5667, St. John’s, NL A1C 5X1, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Aquaculture has become a rapidly growing industry: over the past 3 decades, commercial production has steadily increased, and further expansion seems likely. However, the rise of aquaculture has been accompanied by concerns, especially regarding environmental sustainability. Substrates located under aquaculture sites receive large influxes of organic matter that can subsequently create anoxic conditions and thereby impact existing benthic communities. Shifts in the relative abundance of specific groups of bacteria could prove to be important indicators of impact and remediation. Here, we investigated bacterial community composition via 16S rRNA gene sequencing on isolated DNA from flocculent matter samples and associated bacterial mats under a hard-bottom aquaculture site in Newfoundland, Canada. We describe the heterogeneous community present in the flocculent matter, characterized by high relative abundances of the genera Spirochaeta (12%), Prolixibacter (5.6%) and Marinifilum (4.6%). Bacterial mats were not composed of Beggiatoa as often hypothesized, but instead were dominated by the genera Spirochaeta (15%), Prevotella (21%), Meniscus (11%) and Odoribacter (20%). Our findings provide insights into the bacterial composition of flocculent matter deposited on hard substrates and undergoing degradation, and point to 3 unexpected bacterial genera as potential indicators of organic enrichment.


KEY WORDS: Microbiome · Organic enrichment · Bacterial mats · Spirochaeta · Prolixibacter · Marinifilum


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Cite this article as: Verhoeven JTP, Salvo F, Hamoutene D, Dufour SC (2016) Bacterial community composition of flocculent matter under a salmonid aquaculture site in Newfoundland, Canada. Aquacult Environ Interact 8:637-646. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00204

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