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Factors affecting the response of marine and estuarine bacterial communities to trace metal enrichment

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Studies of the effects of trace metal perturbation on microbial communities have, to date,
concentrated on contaminated environments, single phylotypes or single metals. The
effects of trace metals on bacterial communities in estuarine and marine environments
have been largely overlooked. The aim of this research was to advance the scientific
knowledge in this area by the implementation of incubation experiments. Experiments
were designed to determine the effects of trace metal enrichment and aggregate formation
on the structure and function of bacterial communities. Environmental samples included
bacterioplankton from a pristine estuary (Erme, Devon), a moderately contaminated
estuary (Tamar, Devon), a contaminated estuary (Fal, Cornwall), a coastal station (M1)
and a truly marine station off the continental shelf (M2).
Key factors influencing the response of bacterial communities to trace metal enrichment
were identified. In marine communities the most influential factors were; environmental
parameters, such as type and concentration of organic matter; initial community
composition and ambient concentration of zinc. The addition of trace metals resulted in a
decrease in diversity in the bacterial community from the Tamar Estuary, however,
bacterial association with aggregates appeared to reduce this effect. Community
dynamics of bacteria from a pristine estuary (Erme) demonstrated remarkable bacterial
resilience under trace metal stress, particularly in samples dominated by bacteria from the
Rhodobacteraceae. Some metals were shown to have a more profound effect on
community dynamics than others, resulting in the division of trace metals into Type 1 and
Type 2 categories as a function of bacterial response. RNA derived community
fingerprints were more different between incubation conditions than DNA derived
fingerprints, and were thus a more sensitive indication of response to trace metal
enrichment. The wider implications of the effects of trace metals on bacterial
communities in estuarine and marine environments are discussed, along with possible
future research directions. Recommendations are made for future investigations of the
effects of metal contamination in light of the results presented here.

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Citation

Jones, Rachel Mary (2005) Factors affecting the response of marine and estuarine bacterial communities to trace metal enrichment University of Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth Science, Doctoral Thesis , 196pp.

More information

Published date: July 2005
Organisations: University of Southampton

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 66354
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/66354
PURE UUID: 60b469fc-de38-45a2-9417-ab33502ed3cd

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Jun 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:25

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Contributors

Author: Rachel Mary Jones

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