Ann. Limnol. - Int. J. Lim.
Volume 45, Number 1, 2009
|Page(s)||1 - 10|
|Published online||03 April 2009|
Autogenic versus environmental control during development of river biofilm
Université de Toulouse; UPS, INP; EcoLab (Laboratoire d'Écologie Fonctionnelle); 118 route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse, France
2 CNRS; EcoLab; 31062 Toulouse, France
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 1 February 2009
In the natural environment, microbial community structure of river biofilm is controlled by biotic and abiotic factors. This study explored the capacity to manipulate the structure of microbial communities by modifying environmental conditions during the course of biofilm development. River epilithic biofilm was cultivated in situ on artificial substrates placed parallel to river water flow. Substrates were incubated for 3 and 5.5 weeks in river to allow natural biofilm development, at two sites with contrasting physico-chemical characteristics. The first site (Auradé, Gers, France) was located in an agricultural watershed basin and the second site (Larroque, Haute-Garonne, France) was located in a forested watershed basin. After 3 weeks of biofilm development, a subset of substrates was collected from one site and transplanted to the second site where they remained for 2.5 further weeks. Epilithic bacterial community structure (at 3 weeks from each site and at 5.5 weeks from biofilms with and without transplantation) was assessed using PCR-DGGE of 16S rDNA fragment. Biofilm biomass was estimated using ash free dry mass (AFDM). After 3 weeks of development, biofilms from the two sites exhibited comparable AFDM values (average of 1.4±0.2 g.m-2). A difference between the two sites was observed after 5.5 weeks of development: AFDM decreased for biofilms from the agricultural watershed basin (from 1.4 to 0.18 g.m-2) as a consequence of grazing pressure (Bithynia), and increased for biofilms from the forested agricultural watershed (from 1.4 to 2.6 g.m-2). Microbial community analyses revealed a differentiated community structure between biofilms from the different sites and exhibited a change of microbial community structure after 5.5 weeks of biofilm development. These observations confirm a process of ecological succession in microbial communities. Changing the incubation site during biofilm development modified the trajectory of these ecological successions, suggesting that site characteristics mainly conditioned the structure of these microbial communities.
Key words: Colonization experiment / community structure / grazing / microbial ecology / succession
© EDP Sciences, 2009
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