Microbial ecological associations in the surface sediments of Bohai strait
Microbial communities play key roles in the marine ecosystem. Despite a few studies on marine microbial communities in deep straits, ecological associations among microbial communities in the sediments of shallow straits have not been fully investigated. The Bohai Strait in northern China (average depth less than 20 m) separates the Bohai Sea from the Yellow Sea and has organic-rich sediments. In this study, in the summer of 2014, six stations across the strait were selected to explore the taxonomic composition of microbial communities and their ecological associations. The four most abundant classes were Gammaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Bacilli and Flavobacteriia. Temperature, total carbon, depth, nitrate, fishery breeding and cold water masses influenced the microbial communities, as suggested by representational difference and composition analyses. Network analysis of microbial associations revealed that key families included Flavobacteriaceae, Pirellulaceae and Piscirickettsiaceae. Our findings suggest that the families with high phylogenetic diversity are key populations in the microbial association network that ensure the stability of microbial ecosystems. Our study contributes to a better understanding of microbial ecology in complex hydrological environments.
Keywordssurface sediment network analysis Bohai Strait evolution of microbial associations
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