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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 89:127-142 (2023)  -  DOI:

Spatial and temporal dynamics of coastal benthic microbial communities along a salinity gradient

H. Cecilie Petersen1,2,*, Rumakanta Sapkota3, Anna-Lotta Hiillos2, Benni W. Hansen1, Gary T. Banta4, K. Emily Knott2

1Department of Science and Environment, Roskilde University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
2Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
3Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
4Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, 5238 Odense M, Denmark
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Baltic Sea is a unique brackish water ecosystem that has been studied for decades; however, knowledge about the diversity of the benthic communities of bacteria and microbial eukaryotes within this system is sparse. Using an amplicon sequencing approach, we evaluated alpha and beta diversity of shallow-water coastal microbial sediment communities and their relationship to several environmental factors, on both a large spatial scale in the Baltic Sea and the adjacent North Sea, as well as on a temporal scale at selected sites along the salinity gradient in the Baltic Sea. We found salinity to be among the drivers of alpha diversity for bacteria but not for eukaryotes; however, community network structure appeared to change between sites of different salinity. Furthermore, beta diversity analyses revealed that communities in the poly- to mesohaline sections of the study area were affected to a higher degree by temperature, nutrient and sediment characteristics. This study shows that the structure of coastal microbial communities is to some degree related to salinity, but other factors also play a role.

KEY WORDS: Baltic Sea · Benthic bacteria · Benthic protists · Brackish microbiology · Benthic microbial diversity · Microbial networks

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Cite this article as: Petersen HC, Sapkota R, Hiillos AL, Hansen BW, Banta GT, Knott KE (2023) Spatial and temporal dynamics of coastal benthic microbial communities along a salinity gradient. Aquat Microb Ecol 89:127-142.

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