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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 85:101-119 (2020)  -  DOI:

Microbial and nutrient dynamics in mangrove, reef, and seagrass waters over tidal and diurnal time scales

Cynthia C. Becker1,2, Laura Weber1, Justin J. Suca1,2, Joel K. Llopiz1, T. Aran Mooney1, Amy Apprill1,*

1Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Rd, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
2MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering, Cambridge 02139, and Woods Hole 02543, MA, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: In coral reefs and adjacent seagrass meadow and mangrove environments, short temporal scales (i.e. tidal, diurnal) may have important influences on ecosystem processes and community structure, but these scales are rarely investigated. This study examines how tidal and diurnal forcings influence pelagic microorganisms and nutrient dynamics in 3 important and adjacent coastal biomes: mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows. We sampled for microbial (Bacteria and Archaea) community composition, cell abundances and environmental parameters at 9 coastal sites on St. John, US Virgin Islands that spanned 4 km in distance (4 coral reefs, 2 seagrass meadows and 3 mangrove locations within 2 larger bays). Eight samplings occurred over a 48 h period, capturing day and night microbial dynamics over 2 tidal cycles. The seagrass and reef biomes exhibited relatively consistent environmental conditions and microbial community structure but were dominated by shifts in picocyanobacterial abundances that were most likely attributed to diel dynamics. In contrast, mangrove ecosystems exhibited substantial daily shifts in environmental parameters, heterotrophic cell abundances and microbial community structure that were consistent with the tidal cycle. Differential abundance analysis of mangrove-associated microorganisms revealed enrichment of pelagic oligotrophic taxa during high tide and enrichment of putative sediment-associated microbes during low tide. Our study underpins the importance of tidal and diurnal time scales in structuring coastal microbial and nutrient dynamics, with diel and tidal cycles contributing to a highly dynamic microbial environment in mangroves, and time of day likely contributing to microbial dynamics in seagrass and reef biomes.

KEY WORDS: Tide · Picoplankton · Mangrove · Coral reef · Seagrass · Time series · 16S rRNA gene

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Cite this article as: Becker CC, Weber L, Suca JJ, Llopiz JK, Mooney TA, Apprill A (2020) Microbial and nutrient dynamics in mangrove, reef, and seagrass waters over tidal and diurnal time scales. Aquat Microb Ecol 85:101-119.

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