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Corcoll N, Yang J, Backhaus T, Zhang X, Eriksson MK, Group.2018. Copper affects composition and functions of microbial communities in marine biofilms at environmentally relevant concentrations. PeerJ Preprints6:e27129v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27129v1
Cu pollution in coastal areas is a worldwide threat for aquatic communities. This study assesses the effects of Cu exposure on microbial diversity, community structure and functions of microbial communities in marine periphyton biofilms at environmental relevant concentrations. Periphyton was exposed for 18 days to five Cu concentrations, between 0.01 and 10 μM, in a semi-static test. Diversity and community structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms were assessed by 16S and 18S amplicon sequencing, respectively. Community function was studied as impacts on algal biomass and primary production. Additionally, we studied Pollution-Induced Community Tolerance (PICT) using photosynthesis as the endpoint. Sequencing results detected an average of 9504 and 1242 OTUs for 16S and 18S, respectively, reflecting the huge biodiversity of marine periphytic biofilms. Eukaryotes represent the most Cu-sensitive kingdom, where effects were seen already at concentrations as low as 10 nM. The structure of the prokaryotic part of the community was impacted at slightly higher concentrations (60 nM), which is still in the range of the Cu concentrations observed in the area (80 nM).The current environmental quality standard for Cu of 70 nM therefore does not seem to be sufficiently protective for periphyton. Cu exposure resulted in a more Cu-tolerant community, which was accompanied by a reduced total algal biomass, increased relative abundance of diatoms and a reduction of primary production. Cu exposure changed the network of associations between taxa in the communities. A total of 23 taxa, including species within Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Stramenopiles and Hacrobia, were identified as being particularly sensitive to Cu. DNA metabarcoding is presented as a sensitive tool for community-level ecotoxicological studies that allows to observe impacts simultaneously on a multitude of pro- and eukaryotic species, and therefore to identify particularly sensitive, non-cultivable species and taxa.
This paper has been submitted to a peer reviewed journal: Frontiers in Microbiology