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Effect of River Ecological Restoration on Biofilm Microbial Community Composition

Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou 215123, China
Department of Biological Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou 215123, China
School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK
Suzhou Urban and Environment Research Institute, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou 215123, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(6), 1244;
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 20 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
PDF [2597 KB, uploaded 14 June 2019]


Across the world, there have been increasing attempts to restore good ecological condition to degraded rivers through habitat restoration. Microbial communities developing as biofilms play an important role in river ecosystem functioning by driving organic matter decomposition and ecosystem respiration. However, little is known about the structure and function of microbial communities in riverine systems and how these change when habitat restoration is implemented. Here, we compared the biofilm bacterial community composition using 16S rRNA genes targeted high-throughput Illumina Miseq sequencing in three river types, degraded urban rivers, urban rivers undergoing habitat restoration and forested rivers (our reference conditions). We aimed to determine: (i) the biofilm bacterial community composition affected by habitat restoration (ii) the difference in bacterial diversity in restored rivers, and (iii) correlations between environmental variables and bacterial community composition. The results showed that both water quality and biofilm bacterial community structure were changed by habitat restoration. In rivers where habitat had been restored, there was an increase in dissolved oxygen, a reduction in organic pollutants, a reduction in bacterial diversity and a related developing pattern of microbial communities, which is moving towards that of the reference conditions (forested rivers). River habitat management stimulated the processing of organic pollutants through the variation in microbial community composition, however, a big difference in bacterial structure still existed between the restored rivers and the reference forest rivers. Thus, habitat restoration is an efficient way of modifying the biofilm microbial community composition for sustainable freshwater management. It will, however, take a much longer time for degraded rivers to attain a similar ecosystem quality as the “pristine” forest sites than the seven years of restoration studied here. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacterial community; biofilm; Illumina Miseq sequencing; habitat restoration; river ecosystem bacterial community; biofilm; Illumina Miseq sequencing; habitat restoration; river ecosystem

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Lin, Q.; Sekar, R.; Marrs, R.; Zhang, Y. Effect of River Ecological Restoration on Biofilm Microbial Community Composition. Water 2019, 11, 1244.

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