Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollutants originating from oil spills and wood and fuel combustion are pollutants which are among the major threats to mangrove ecosystems. In this study, the composition and relative abundance in the sediment bacterial communities of naphthalene dioxygenase (ndo) genes which are important for bacterial adaptation to environmental PAH contamination were investigated. Three urban mangrove sites which had characteristic compositions and levels of PAH compounds in the sediments were selected. The diversity and relative abundance of ndo genes in total community DNA were assessed by a newly developed ndo denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) approach and by PCR amplification with primers targeting ndo genes with subsequent Southern blot hybridization analyses. Bacterial populations inhabiting sediments of urban mangroves under the impact of different sources of PAH contamination harbor distinct ndo genotypes. Sequencing of cloned ndo amplicons comigrating with dominant DGGE bands revealed new ndo genotypes. PCR-Southern blot analysis and ndo DGGE showed that the frequently studied nah and phn genotypes were not detected as dominant ndo types in the mangrove sediments. However, ndo genotypes related to nagAc-like genes were detected, but only in oil-contaminated mangrove sediments. The long-term impact of PAH contamination, together with the specific environmental conditions at each site, may have affected the abundance and diversity of ndo genes in sediments of urban mangroves.
Structuring of bacterioplanktonic populations and factors that determine the structuring of specific niche partitions have been demonstrated only for a limited number of colder water environments. In order to better understand the physical chemical and biological parameters that may influence bacterioplankton diversity and abundance, we examined their productivity, abundance and diversity in the second largest Brazilian tropical bay (Guanabara Bay, GB), as well as seawater physical chemical and biological parameters of GB. The inner bay location with higher nutrient input favored higher microbial (including vibrio) growth. Metagenomic analysis revealed a predominance of Gammaproteobacteria in this location, while GB locations with lower nutrient concentration favored Alphaproteobacteria and Flavobacteria. According to the subsystems (SEED) functional analysis, GB has a distinctive metabolic signature, comprising a higher number of sequences in the metabolism of phosphorus and aromatic compounds and a lower number of sequences in the photosynthesis subsystem. The apparent phosphorus limitation appears to influence the GB metagenomic signature of the three locations. Phosphorus is also one of the main factors determining changes in the abundance of planktonic vibrios, suggesting that nutrient limitation can be observed at community (metagenomic) and population levels (total prokaryote and vibrio counts).
In this study, the combination of culture enrichments and molecular tools was used to identify bacterial guilds, plasmids and functional genes potentially important in the process of petroleum hydrocarbon (PH) decontamination in mangrove microniches (rhizospheres and bulk sediment). In addition, we aimed to recover PHdegrading consortia (PHDC) for future use in remediation strategies. The PHDC were enriched with petroleum from rhizosphere and bulk sediment samples taken from a mangrove chronically polluted with oil hydrocarbons. Southern blot hybridization (SBH) assays of PCR amplicons from environmental DNA before enrichments resulted in weak positive signals for the functional gene types targeted, suggesting that PH-degrading genotypes and plasmids were in low abundance in the rhizosphere and bulk sediments. However, after enrichment, these genes were detected and strong microniche-dependent differences in the abundance and composition of hydrocarbonoclastic bacterial populations, plasmids (IncP-1a, IncP1b, IncP-7 and IncP-9) and functional genes (naphthalene, extradiol and intradiol dioxygenases) were revealed by in-depth molecular analyses [PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and hybridization (SBH and microarray)]. Our results suggest that, despite the low abundance of PH-degrading genes and plasmids in the environmental samples, the original bacterial composition of the mangrove microniches determined the structural and functional diversity of the PHDC enriched.
The calcareous sponge Paraleucilla magna (Porifera, Calcarea) has been the subject of several studies in the last decade. It was first described along the Brazilian coast, where it is considered cryptogenic, and was subsequently found in the Mediterranean, where it is considered invasive. The wide artificial distribution of this species allows us to compare different aspects of the biology of an introduced species in different locations. Here, we analysed the effects of selected environmental parameters on the reproductive dynamics of P. magna in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) over 18 months and compared our results with those obtained for the same species in the Mediterranean Sea. Specimens were collected monthly and analysed through histological methods. The density of reproductive elements in each month was calculated, and the effects of environmental parameters (photoperiod, precipitation, temperature, phytoplankton and bacterioplankton) were analysed using a regression tree analysis. Paraleucilla magna was reproductive throughout the study period. The densities of the reproductive elements (oocytes, embryos and larvae) showed no seasonality, and this species presented one of the highest reproductive efforts documented to date in the phylum Porifera (99.0 oocytes · mm−3; 89.0 embryos · mm−3; 319.0 larvae · mm−3). The main environmental parameters related to the reproduction of P. magna were temperature, photoperiod and bacterioplankton. Temperature was the main driver associated with the densities of oocytes and embryos, while bacterioplankton was the main driver of larvae (positive relationships). In Rio de Janeiro, larvae were present and continuously released. This strategy is different from that observed in the Mediterranean, where a larger larval output was observed but only during the summer months. Our results show that P. magna is a species with a strong invasive potential, considering its high and continuous reproductive effort. This high fecundity stimulated by high temperatures may be a key factor contributing to the growth of P. magna populations and its invasion of new areas.
This study is the first to apply a comparative analysis of environmental chemistry, microbiological parameters and bacterioplankton 16S rRNA clone libraries from different areas of a 50 km transect along a trophic gradient in the tropical Guanabara Bay ecosystem. Higher bacterial diversity was found in the coastal area, whereas lower richness was observed in the more polluted inner bay water. The significance of differences between clone libraries was examined with LIBSHUFF statistics. Paired reciprocal comparisons indicated that each of the libraries differs significantly from the others, and this is in agreement with direct interpretation of the phylogenetic tree. Furthermore, correspondence analyses showed that some taxa are related to specific abiotic, trophic and microbiological parameters in Guanabara Bay estuarine system.
Seamounts are considered important sources of biodiversity and minerals. However, their biodiversity and health status are not well understood; therefore, potential conservation problems are unknown. The mesophotic reefs of the Vitória-Trindade Seamount Chain (VTC) were investigated via benthic community and fish surveys, metagenomic and water chemistry analyses, and water microbial abundance estimations. The VTC is a mosaic of reef systems and includes fleshy algae dominated rhodolith beds, crustose coralline algae (CCA) reefs, and turf algae dominated rocky reefs of varying health levels. Macro-carnivores and larger fish presented higher biomass at the CCA reefs (4.4 kg per frame) than in the rhodolith beds and rocky reefs (0.0 to 0.1 kg per frame). A larger number of metagenomic sequences identified as primary producers (e.g., Chlorophyta and Streptophyta) were found at the CCA reefs. However, the rocky reefs contained more diseased corals (>90%) than the CCA reefs (~40%) and rhodolith beds (~10%). Metagenomic analyses indicated a heterotrophic and fast-growing microbiome in rocky reef corals that may possibly lead to unhealthy conditions possibly enhanced by environmental features (e.g. light stress and high loads of labile dissolved organic carbon). VTC mounts represent important hotspots of biodiversity that deserve further conservation actions.
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