Spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the structure and function of sediment bacterial communities of a tropical mangrove forest
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Bacterial communities of mangrove sediments are well appreciated for their role in nutrient cycling. However, spatiotemporal variability in these communities over large geographical scale remains understudied. We investigated sediment bacterial communities and their metabolic potential in an intertidal mangrove forest of India, Bhitarkanika, using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes and community-level physiological profiling. Bulk surface sediments from five different locations representing riverine and bay sites were collected over three seasons. Seasonality largely explained the variation in the structural and metabolic patterns of the sediment bacterial communities. Freshwater Actinobacteria were more abundant in monsoon, whereas γ-Proteobacteria demonstrated higher abundance in summer. Distinct differences in the bacterial community composition were noted between riverine and bay sites. For example, salt-loving marine bacteria affiliated to Oceanospirillales were more prominent in the bay sites than the riverine sites. l-asparagine, N-acetyl-d-glucosamine, and d-mannitol were the preferentially utilized carbon sources by bacterial communities. Bacterial community composition was largely governed by salinity and organic carbon content of the sediments. Modeling analysis revealed that the abundance of δ-Proteobacteria increased with salinity, whereas β-Proteobacteria displayed an opposite trend. Metabolic mapping of taxonomic data predicted biogeochemical functions such as xylan and chitin degradation, ammonia oxidation, nitrite reduction, and sulfate reduction in the bacterial communities suggesting their role in carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycling in mangrove sediments. This study has provided valuable clues about spatiotemporal heterogeneity in the structural and metabolic patterns of bacterial communities and their environmental determinants in a tropical mangrove forest.
KeywordsMangrove forest Bhitarkanika Bacterial communities Spatiotemporal heterogeneity
The support received from the “ASM-IUSSTF Indo-US Professorship in Microbiology” awarded to Dr. G. Rastogi is also acknowledged. PCCF, Wild Life (Odisha), DFO-Rajnagar and mangrove forest division, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, and National Park are acknowledged for providing logistical help during field study. Authors sincerely appreciate the efforts of Mr. Bhagirathi Maharana for collecting the sediment samples from Bhitarkanika. The authors would like to acknowledge Mr. Bibhuti Bhusan Dora Research Fellow of GIS cell, Chilika Development Authority for the preparation of the sampling map. The Resourcesat-2 LISS III satellite image was obtained from the National Remote Sensing Center (NRSC), Hyderabad (India). Authors sincerely appreciate the constructive comments received from reviewers that helped improve the quality of this manuscript.
This work was supported by the World Bank grant no. (Credit No. 4765-IN) given to Chilika Development Authority under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) of Odisha.
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