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Title: Year-around survey and manipulation experiments reveal differential sensitivities of soil prokaryotic and fungal communities to saltwater intrusion in Florida Everglades wetlands
Global sea-level rise is transforming coastal ecosystems, especially freshwater wetlands, in part due to increased episodic or chronic saltwater exposure, leading to shifts in biogeochemistry, plant- and microbial communities, as well as ecological services. Yet, it is still difficult to predict how soil microbial communities respond to the saltwater exposure because of poorly understood microbial sensitivity within complex wetland soil microbial communities, as well as the high spatial and temporal heterogeneity of wetland soils and saltwater exposure. To address this, we first conducted a two-year survey of microbial community structure and bottom water chemistry in submerged surface soils from 14 wetland sites across the Florida Everglades. We identified ecosystem-specific microbial biomarker taxa primarily associated with variation in salinity. Bacterial, archaeal and fungal community composition differed between freshwater, mangrove, and marine seagrass meadow sites, irrespective of soil type or season. Especially, methanogens, putative denitrifying methanotrophs and sulfate reducers shifted in relative abundance and/or composition between wetland types. Methanogens and putative denitrifying methanotrophs declined in relative abundance from freshwater to marine wetlands, whereas sulfate reducers showed the opposite trend. A four-year experimental simulation of saltwater intrusion in a pristine freshwater site and a previously saltwater-impacted site corroborated the highest sensitivity and relative increase of sulfate reducers, as well as taxon-specific sensitivity of methanogens, in response to continuously pulsing of saltwater treatment. Collectively, these results suggest that besides increased salinity, saltwater-mediated increased sulfate availability leads to displacement of methanogens by sulfate reducers even at low or temporal salt exposure. These changes of microbial composition could affect organic matter degradation pathways in coastal freshwater wetlands exposed to sea-level rise, with potential consequences, such as loss of stored soil organic carbon.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2025954 1832229
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Science of The Total Environment
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms Spatial and temporal variations Saltwater intrusion Experimental manipulation Florida Everglades Next-generation sequencing
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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