Bernhard Anne E.

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Anne E.

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  • Article
    Biogeography of ammonia oxidizers in New England and Gulf of Mexico salt marshes and the potential importance of comammox
    (Springer, 2021-03-29) Bernhard, Anne E. ; Beltz, Jack ; Giblin, Anne E. ; Roberts, Brian J.
    Few studies have focused on broad scale biogeographic patterns of ammonia oxidizers in coastal systems, yet understanding the processes that govern them is paramount to understanding the mechanisms that drive biodiversity, and ultimately impact ecosystem processes. Here we present a meta-analysis of 16 years of data of ammonia oxidizer abundance, diversity, and activity in New England (NE) salt marshes and 5 years of data from marshes in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Potential nitrification rates were more than 80x higher in GoM compared to NE marshes. However, nitrifier abundances varied between regions, with ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and comammox bacteria significantly greater in GoM, while ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) were more than 20x higher in NE than GoM. Total bacterial 16S rRNA genes were also significantly greater in GoM marshes. Correlation analyses of rates and abundance suggest that AOA and comammox are more important in GoM marshes, whereas AOB are more important in NE marshes. Furthermore, ratios of nitrifiers to total bacteria in NE were as much as 80x higher than in the GoM, suggesting differences in the relative importance of nitrifiers between these systems. Communities of AOA and AOB were also significantly different between the two regions, based on amoA sequences and DNA fingerprints (terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism). Differences in rates and abundances may be due to differences in salinity, temperature, and N loading between the regions, and suggest significantly different N cycling dynamics in GoM and NE marshes that are likely driven by strong environmental differences between the regions.
  • Article
    Differential responses of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria to long-term fertilization in a New England salt marsh
    (Frontiers Media, 2013-01-22) Peng, Xuefeng ; Yando, Erik ; Hildebrand, Erica ; Dwyer, Courtney ; Kearney, Anne ; Waciega, Alex ; Valiela, Ivan ; Bernhard, Anne E.
    Since the discovery of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), new questions have arisen about population and community dynamics and potential interactions between AOA and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). We investigated the effects of long-term fertilization on AOA and AOB in the Great Sippewissett Marsh, Falmouth, MA, USA to address some of these questions. Sediment samples were collected from low and high marsh habitats in July 2009 from replicate plots that received low (LF), high (HF), and extra high (XF) levels of a mixed NPK fertilizer biweekly during the growing season since 1974. Additional untreated plots were included as controls (C). Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the amoA genes revealed distinct shifts in AOB communities related to fertilization treatment, but the response patterns of AOA were less consistent. Four AOB operational taxonomic units (OTUs) predictably and significantly responded to fertilization, but only one AOA OTU showed a significant pattern. Betaproteobacterial amoA gene sequences within the Nitrosospira-like cluster dominated at C and LF sites, while sequences related to Nitrosomonas spp. dominated at HF and XF sites. We identified some clusters of AOA sequences recovered primarily from high fertilization regimes, but other clusters consisted of sequences recovered from all fertilization treatments, suggesting greater physiological diversity. Surprisingly, fertilization appeared to have little impact on abundance of AOA or AOB. In summary, our data reveal striking patterns for AOA and AOB in response to long-term fertilization, and also suggest a missing link between community composition and abundance and nitrogen processing in the marsh.