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Diversity 2014, 6(1), 18-32; doi:10.3390/d6010018

Seasonal Changes in Microbial Community Structure in Freshwater Stream Sediment in a North Carolina River Basin

1 Aquatic Epidemiology and Conservation Laboratory, Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 1060 William Moore Drive Raleigh, NC 27607, USA 2 In Silico LLC, 1634 Southcross Street, Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526, USA Currently at the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA Currently at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 October 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
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This study examined seasonal differences in microbial community structure in the sediment of three streams in North Carolina’s Neuse River Basin. Microbes that reside in sediment are at the base of the food chain and have a profound influence on the health of freshwater stream environments. Terminal-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP), molecular fingerprint analysis of 16S rRNA genes was used to examine the diversity of bacterial species in stream sediment. Sediment was sampled in both wet and dry seasons from an agricultural (Bear), mixed urban (Crabtree) and forested (Marks) Creek, and the microbiota examined. Gamma, Alpha and Beta proteobacteria were prevalent species of microbial taxa represented among all sites. Actinobacteria was the next most prevalent species observed, with greater occurrence in dry compared to the wet season. Discernable clustering was observed of Marks and Bear Creek samples collected during the wetter period (September–April), which corresponded with a period of higher precipitation and cooler surface water temperatures. Although not statistically significant, microbial community structure appeared different between season (ANOSIM, R = 0.60; p < 0.10). Principal components analysis confirmed this pattern and showed that the bacterial groups were separated by wet and dry seasonal periods. These results suggest seasonal differences among the microbial community structure in sediment of freshwater streams and that these communities may respond to changes in precipitation during wetter periods.
Keywords: microbial community analysis; T-RFLP; stream microbiome; seasonal variation microbial community analysis; T-RFLP; stream microbiome; seasonal variation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Bucci, J.P.; Szempruch, A.J.; Caldwell, J.M.; Ellis, J.C.; Levine, J.F. Seasonal Changes in Microbial Community Structure in Freshwater Stream Sediment in a North Carolina River Basin. Diversity 2014, 6, 18-32.

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