SS2.01 Effects of Biotic Interactions on the Structure and Function of Microbial Food Webs
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Time: 11:45:00 AM
Location: Saanich
 
BilesCL, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom, clb3@st-andrews.ac.uk
Paterson, D, M, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom, dp1@st-andrews.ac.uk
Freitag, T, , University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, t.freitag@abdn.ac.uk
Prosser, J, I, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, j.prosser@abdn.ac.uk
Raffaelli, D, G, University of York, York, United Kingdom, dr13@york.ac.uk
 
FLOW AND SPECIES EFFECTS ON MICROBIAL COMMUNITY STRUCTURE IN A BENTHIC SYSTEM.
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Abiotic influences on ecosystem processes have not been widely investigated in marine benthic systems, yet are important to assess to adequately understand the system. This study measures the response of microbial community assemblages to the sub and post-critical flow and the presence of macrofauna. Benthic chambers with estuarine sediments containing two macrofaunal species (Nereis diversicolor and Mytilus edulis) were used to simulate an estuarine system. 16S rRNA based techniques were used to characterise the species diversity and community structure of natural populations of bacteria. This approach involves PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes from DNA extracted from the environment, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), sequencing and phyolgenetic analysis. Water column nutrient samples were taken to determine the effect of the microbial community on nutrient cycling. Significant variation was found in microbial community assemblages under the influence of flow, generating subsequent changes in nutrient fluxes. Microbial community assemblage was found to be a particularly good indicator of ecosystem functioning, providing a novel and effective measure in marine systems.