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Environmental influences shaping microbial communities in a low oxygen, highly stratified marine embayment


Da Silva, RRP and White, CA and Bowman, JP and Raes, E and Bisset, A and Chapman, C and Bodrossy, L and Ross, DJ, Environmental influences shaping microbial communities in a low oxygen, highly stratified marine embayment, Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 87 pp. 185-203. ISSN 0948-3055 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Available from 21 October 2026

Copyright Statement

© Inter-Research 2021

DOI: doi:10.3354/ame01978


Microbial communities in the marine environment drive biogeochemical and nutrient cycles. However, microbial composition and therefore their role in ecosystems is likely to be strongly influenced by the environment. Here, we examined Macquarie Harbour, a highly stratified system on the west coast of Tasmania, Australia, to determine environmental factors driving microbial diversity. Water was sampled along spatial and environmental gradients to examine the structure and composition of the microbial communities, using high-throughput sequencing. The spatial distribution of the communities was found to be homogenous throughout the harbourís surface, although it differed from riverine and oceanic samples. In contrast, the distribution and composition of microbial communities varied with depth-related changes in salinity and oxygen. Prokaryotes associated with riverine and brackish waters dominated the oxic surface waters. Phytoplankton metabolite-related bacteria and nitrite oxidizers were abundant at the halocline, whereas microbes linked to the consumption of organic matter, nitrogen and sulphur metabolization inhabited the hypoxic bottom waters and may be acting as major players in oxygen consumption throughout the harbourís water column. This study provides valuable insights into microbial community ecology in a semi-enclosed and highly stratified environment and will improve our knowledge on how bacterial and archaeal distribution may be influenced by a changing environment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:microbial ecology, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, spatial and environmental gradient, stratified marine environment, Macquarie Harbour, environmental change
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Da Silva, RRP (Mr Ricardo Da Silva)
UTAS Author:White, CA (Dr Camille White)
UTAS Author:Bowman, JP (Associate Professor John Bowman)
UTAS Author:Ross, DJ (Associate Professor Jeff Ross)
ID Code:147930
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2021-11-24
Last Modified:2021-12-22

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