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  1. Coastal wetlands, such as the Everglades, are increasingly being exposed to stressors that have the potential to modify their existing ecological processes because of global climate change. Their soil microbiomes include a population of organisms important for biogeochemical cycling, but continual stresses can disturb the community’s composition, causing functional changes. The Everglades feature wetlands with varied salinity levels, implying that they contain microbial communities with a variety of salt tolerances and microbial functions. Therefore, tracking the effects of stresses on these populations in freshwater and brackish marshes is critical. The study addressed this by utilizing next generation sequencing (NGS) to construct a baseline soil microbial community. The carbon and sulfur cycles were studied by sequencing a microbial functional gene involved in each process, the mcrA and dsrA functional genes, respectively. Saline was introduced over two years to observe the taxonomic alterations that occurred after a long-term disturbance such as seawater intrusion. It was observed that saltwater dosing increased sulfite reduction in freshwater peat soils and decreased methylotrophy in brackish peat soils. These findings add to the understanding of microbiomes by demonstrating how changes in soil qualities impact communities both before and after a disturbance such as saltwater intrusion.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024