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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 130; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020130

Exploring the Impacts of Anthropogenic Disturbance on Seawater and Sediment Microbial Communities in Korean Coastal Waters Using Metagenomics Analysis

1
Water Institute, Korea Water Resources Corporation, Daejeon 34350, Korea
2
Gencube, Seoul 10110, Korea
3
Korean Entomological Institute, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea
4
Estuarine and Coastal Ecology Laboratory, Department of Marine Life Sciences, Jeju National University, Jeju 63243, Korea
5
Molecular Ecology and Evolution Laboratory, Department of Biological Science, Sangji University, Wonju 26339, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Abstract

The coastal ecosystems are considered as one of the most dynamic and vulnerable environments under various anthropogenic developments and the effects of climate change. Variations in the composition and diversity of microbial communities may be a good indicator for determining whether the marine ecosystems are affected by complex forcing stressors. DNA sequence-based metagenomics has recently emerged as a promising tool for analyzing the structure and diversity of microbial communities based on environmental DNA (eDNA). However, few studies have so far been performed using this approach to assess the impacts of human activities on the microbial communities in marine systems. In this study, using metagenomic DNA sequencing (16S ribosomal RNA gene), we analyzed and compared seawater and sediment communities between sand mining and control (natural) sites in southern coastal waters of Korea to assess whether anthropogenic activities have significantly affected the microbial communities. The sand mining sites harbored considerably lower levels of microbial diversities in the surface seawater community during spring compared with control sites. Moreover, the sand mining areas had distinct microbial taxonomic group compositions, particularly during spring season. The microbial groups detected solely in the sediment load/dredging areas (e.g., Marinobacter, Alcanivorax, Novosphingobium) are known to be involved in degradation of toxic chemicals such as hydrocarbon, oil, and aromatic compounds, and they also contain potential pathogens. This study highlights the versatility of metagenomics in monitoring and diagnosing the impacts of human disturbance on the environmental health of marine ecosystems from eDNA. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal ecosystem; environmental DNA; metagenomics; microbial community; operational taxonomic unit (OTU); sand mining coastal ecosystem; environmental DNA; metagenomics; microbial community; operational taxonomic unit (OTU); sand mining
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Won, N.-I.; Kim, K.-H.; Kang, J.H.; Park, S.R.; Lee, H.J. Exploring the Impacts of Anthropogenic Disturbance on Seawater and Sediment Microbial Communities in Korean Coastal Waters Using Metagenomics Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 130.

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