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Sedimentary Microbial Community Dynamics In A Regulated Stream: East Fork Of The Little Miami River, Ohio.

S. D. Sutton, R. H. Findlay
Published 2003 · Biology, Medicine

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A field study was conducted in the Lower East Fork of the Little Miami River, a regulated stream in Clermont county, Ohio, to determine how changes in streamflow, water temperature and photo-period affect sediment microbial community structure. Surface sediment cores were collected from sampling stations spanning 60 river kilometers three to four times per year between October 1996 and October 1999. During the final year of the field study, water temperature, water depth, conductivity, total suspended solids, dissolved organic carbon, instantaneous streamflow velocity, sediment grain size and sediment organic matter were determined. Total microbial biomass was measured using the phospholipid phosphate technique (PLP) and ranged between 2 and 134 nmol PLP * g(-1) dry weight sediment with a mean of 25 nmol PLP * g(-1). Microbial community structure was determined using the phospholipid fatty acid analysis and indicated seasonal shifts in sedimentary microbial community composition. January to June sedimentary microbial biomass was predominately prokaryotic (60% +/- 2), whereas microeukaryotes dominated samples collected during the late summer (55% +/- 2.4) and fall (60% +/- 2). These changes were correlated with stream discharge and water temperature. Microbial community structure varied spatially about a reservoir with prokaryotic biomass dominant at upstream stations and eukaryotic biomass dominant at downstream stations. These findings reveal that sedimentary microbial communities in streams are dynamic responding to the seasonal variation of environmental factors.
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