Distribution and seasonal variability in the benthic eukaryotic community of Río Tinto (SW, Spain), an acidic, high metal extreme environment
Zettler, Erik R.
Amaral-Zettler, Linda A.
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The eukaryotic community of Río Tinto (SW, Spain) was surveyed fall, winter, and spring through the combined use of traditional microscopy and molecular approaches including Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) and sequence analysis of 18S rRNA gene fragments. We compared eukaryotic assemblages of surface sediment biofilms collected in January, May and September 2002 from 13 sampling stations along the river. Physicochemical data revealed extremely acidic conditions (pH ranged from 0.9 to 2.5) with high concentrations of heavy metals including up to 20 g l-1 Fe, 317 mg l-1 Zn, 47 mg l-1 As, 42 mg l-1 Cd, and 4 mg l-1 Ni. In total, 20 taxa were identified, including members of the Bacillariophyta, Chlorophyta, and Euglenophyta phyla as well as ciliates, cercomonads, amoebae, stramenopiles, fungi, heliozoan and rotifers. In general, total cell abundances were highest in fall and spring decreasing drastically in winter and the sampling stations with the most extreme conditions showed the lowest number of cells as well as the lowest diversity. Species diversity does not vary much during the year. Only the filamentous algae showed a dramatic seasonal change almost disappearing in winter and reaching the highest biomass during the summer. PCA showed a high inverse correlation between pH and most of the heavy metals analyzed as well as Dunaliella sp., while Chlamydomonas sp. is directly related to pH during May and September. Three heavy metals (Zn, Cu and Ni) remained separate from the rest and showed an inverse correlation with most of the species analyzed except for Dunaliella sp.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2007. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Systematic and Applied Microbiology 30 (2007): 531-546, doi:10.1016/j.syapm.2007.05.003.
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