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The role of metal contamination in shaping microbial communities in heavily polluted marine sediment

Di Cesare, Andrea; Pjevac, Petra; Eckert, Ester M.; Cukrov, Neven; Šparica Miko, Martina; Corno, Gianluca; Orlić, Sandi (2020) The role of metal contamination in shaping microbial communities in heavily polluted marine sediment. Environmental Pollution, 265 (Part B). ISSN 0269-7491

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Microorganisms in coastal sediments are fundamental for ecosystem functioning, and regulate processes relevant in global biogeochemical cycles. Still, our understanding of the effects anthropogenic perturbation and pollution can have on microbial communities in marine sediments is limited. We surveyed the microbial diversity, and the occurrence and abundance of metal and antibiotic resistance genes is sediments collected from the Pula Bay (Croatia), one of the most significantly polluted sites along the Croatian coast. With a collection of 14 samples from the bay area, we were able to generate a detailed status quo picture of a site that only recently started a cleaning and remediation process (closing of sewage pipes and reduction of industrial activity). The concentrations of heavy metals in Pula Bay sediments are significantly higher than in pristine sediments from the Adriatic Sea, and in some cases, manifold exceed international sediment quality guidelines. While the sedimentary concentrations of heavy metals did significantly influence the abundance of the tested metal resistance genes, no strong effect of heavy metal pollution on the overall microbial community composition was observed. Like in many other marine sediments, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidota and Desulfobacterota dominated the microbial community composition in most samples, and community assembly was primarily driven by water column depth and nutrient (carbon and nitrogen) availability, regardless of the degree of heavy metal pollution.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sediments; pollution; heavy metals; metal resistance genes; microbial diversity
NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology > Microbiology
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences > Environmental Science
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Division of Materials Chemistry
Depositing User: Sandi Orlić
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2021 13:33
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114823

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