Hosen JacobCEOASMicrobialResponsesChangesTable1.xlsx

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  • Microbial communities are responsible for the bulk of biogeochemical processing in temporary headwater streams, yet there is still relatively little known about how community structure and function respond to periodic drying. Moreover, the ability to sample temporary habitats can be a logistical challenge due to the limited capability to measure and predict the timing, intensity and frequency of wet-dry events. Unsurprisingly, published datasets on microbial community structure and function are limited in scope and temporal resolution and vary widely in the molecular methods applied. We compared environmental and microbial community datasets for permanent and temporary tributaries of two different North American headwater stream systems: Speed River (Ontario, Canada) and Parkers Creek (Maryland, USA). We explored whether taxonomic diversity and community composition were altered as a result of flow permanence and compared community composition amongst streams using different 16S microbial community methods (i.e., T-RFLP and Illumina MiSeq). Contrary to our hypotheses, and irrespective of method, community composition did not respond strongly to drying. In both systems, community composition was related to site rather than drying condition. Additional network analysis on the Parkers Creek dataset indicated a shift in the central microbial relationships between temporary and permanent streams. In the permanent stream at Parkers Creek, associations of methanotrophic taxa were most dominant, whereas associations with taxa from the order Nitrospirales were more dominant in the temporary stream, particularly during dry conditions. We compared these results with existing published studies from around the world and found a wide range in community responses to drying. We conclude by proposing three hypotheses that may address contradictory results and, when tested across systems, may expand understanding of the responses of microbial communities in temporary streams to natural and human-induced fluctuations in flow-status and permanence.
  • Keywords: operational taxonomic unit (OTU), bacterial diversity, temporary streams, microbial ecology
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