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Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 430–443 | Cite as

Aquifer Discharge Drives Microbial Community Change in Karst Estuaries

  • Damian M. Menning
  • William A. Carraher-Stross
  • Elaina D. Graham
  • Devon N. Thomas
  • Annie R. Phillips
  • Robert J. Scharping
  • James R. GareyEmail author
Article

Abstract

Karst estuaries are unique systems governed by freshwater inputs that flow directly to the sea through karst conduits and/or matrices. Because they are found at the interface between terrestrial and marine environments, they can act as sentinels to climate change and as indicators of aquifer health. The physical and geochemical gradients formed in karst estuaries are a direct result of the interactions between inland hydrological conditions and sea level. To examine the influence these gradients have on microbial communities in the water column and sediment of a karst estuary, we studied the spring-fed Double Keyhole Karst Estuary in west central Florida for a 2-year period. Four sites were monitored within this system starting at the Double Keyhole Spring Conduit extending 2 km west through the estuary toward the Gulf of Mexico. Water column and sediment samples were collected quarterly at all sites from September 2011 through September 2013. Archaeal, bacterial, and microbial eukaryote communities were analyzed using quantitative PCR and length-heterogeneity PCR. The biological communities were analyzed in the context of hydrological, physical, and geochemical parameters in order to determine which factor(s) governed the observed changes of microbial abundance and richness. The major finding of this study was that microbial community change in this karst estuary was primarily driven by the volume of aquifer discharge and associated physical gradients, and less by the geochemical fluctuations within the system.

Keywords

Biogeochemistry Ecology Molecular Community Karst Estuary Microbial Environmental DNA 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the University of South Florida for supporting this project. We thank Pasco County, FL for allowing access to the site, Dave DeWitt of the South West Florida Water Management District, and Zachary Atlas of the Geology Department at USF for the assistance. Many undergraduates provided surface and logistical support in the field and helped process samples in the lab.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

12237_2017_281_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Supplemental Material 1 Total alkalinity data. (XLSX 10 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (511 kb)
Supplemental Material 2 Multi-Dimensional Scaling plots of the combined archaeal, bacterial, and microbial eukaryote communities in the water column on each collection date at each site. Each of the five replicate samples from each site are indicated by different colored shapes. Colored circles around the samples represent the percentage of similarity between samples (PDF 510 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (604 kb)
Supplemental Material 3 Multi-Dimensional Scaling plots of the combined archaeal, bacterial, and microbial eukaryote communities in the sediment on each collection date at each site. Each of the five replicate samples from each site are indicated by different colored shapes. Colored circles around the samples represent the percentage of similarity between samples. (PDF 604 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (564 kb)
Supplemental Material 4 Multi-Dimensional Scaling plots of the combined archaeal, bacterial, and microbial eukaryote communities in the water column at each site from fall 2011 through fall 2013. Each of the five replicate samples from each site are indicated by different colored shapes. Colored circles around the samples represent the percentage of similarity between samples. The dashed lined separates samples before and after Tropical Storm Debby with samples collected after Tropical Storm Debby on top. (PDF 564 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (578 kb)
Supplemental Material 5 Multi-Dimensional Scaling plots of the combined archaeal, bacterial, and microbial eukaryote communities in the sediment at each site from fall 2011 through fall 2013. Each of the five replicate samples from each site are indicated by different colored shapes. Colored circles around the samples represent the percentage of similarity between samples. The dashed lined separates samples before and after Tropical Storm Debby with samples collected after Tropical Storm Debby generally on top. (PDF 577 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM6_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Supplemental Material 6 Partial correlation analyses of microbial absolute abundance in the water column to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for sample collection date. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 13 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM7_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Supplemental Material 7 Partial correlation analyses of microbial absolute abundance in the sediment to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for sample collection date. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 13 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM8_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplemental Material 8 Partial correlation analyses of microbial absolute abundance in the water column and sediment to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for collection site. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 14 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM9_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Supplemental Material 9 Partial correlation analyses of microbial OTU richness in the water column to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for sample collection date. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 13 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM10_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Supplemental Material 10 Partial correlation analyses of microbial OTU richness in the sediment to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for sample collection date. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 13 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM11_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
Supplemental Material 11 Partial correlation analyses of microbial OTU richness in the water column and sediment to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for collection site. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 15 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM12_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplemental Material 12 Correlations of microbial community structure in the water column (MDS analyses) across all sites on the same collection date to physicochemical and hydrological data described in Menning et al. (2015). Only correlations with r2 values greater than 0.20 are shown and all are statistically significant (p < 0.01). (XLSX 10 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM13_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplemental Material 13 Correlations of microbial community structure in the sediment (MDS analyses) across all sites on the same collection date to physicochemical and hydrological data described in Menning et al. (2015). Only correlations with r2 values greater than 0.20 are shown and all are statistically significant (p < 0.01). (XLSX 10 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM14_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplemental Material 14 Correlations of microbial community structure in the water column (MDS analyses) across all dates at the same collection site to physicochemical and hydrological data described in Menning et al. (2015). Only correlations with r2 values greater than 0.20 are shown and all are statistically significant (p < 0.01). (XLSX 10 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM15_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplemental Material 15 Correlations of microbial community structure in the sediment (MDS analyses) across all dates at the same collection site to physicochemical and hydrological data described in Menning et al. (2015). Only correlations with r2 values greater than 0.20 are shown and all are statistically significant (p < 0.01). (XLSX 10 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM16_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Supplemental Material 16 DistLM analysis of the variables explaining trends in water column and sediment microbial absolute OTU abundances. (XLSX 10 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM17_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplemental Material 17 BEST analysis of the variables explaining trends in water column microbial absolute OTU abundance. (XLSX 15 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM18_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
Supplemental Material 18 BEST analysis of the variables explaining patterns in sediment microbial absolute OTU abundance. (XLSX 15 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM19_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Supplemental Material 19 Partial correlation analyses of estimated microbial absolute abundance in the water column and sediment to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for collection site without late summer and fall 2012 collections. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 14 kb)
12237_2017_281_MOESM20_ESM.xlsx (15 kb)
Supplemental Material 20 Partial correlation analyses of microbial OTU richness in the water column and sediment to hydrological and physicochemical data described in Menning et al. (2015) controlling for collection site without late summer and fall 2012 collections. All values shown are statistically significant (p < 0.025). (XLSX 14 kb)

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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damian M. Menning
    • 1
  • William A. Carraher-Stross
    • 1
  • Elaina D. Graham
    • 1
  • Devon N. Thomas
    • 1
  • Annie R. Phillips
    • 1
  • Robert J. Scharping
    • 1
  • James R. Garey
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular BiologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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