Molecular fingerprinting and amplicon sequencing of the bacterial biofilm on settlement tiles deployed along natural pH gradients in Papua New Guinea


Bacterial biofilms provide cues for the settlement of marine invertebrates such as coral larvae, and are therefore important for the resilience and recovery of coral reefs. This study aimed to better understand how ocean acidification may affect the community composition and diversity of bacterial biofilms on surfaces under naturally reduced pH conditions. Settlement tiles were deployed at coral reefs in Papua New Guinea along pH gradients created by two CO2 seeps, and upper and lower tiles surfaces were sampled 5 and 13 months after deployment. Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis were used to characterize more than 200 separate bacterial communities, complemented by amplicon sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene of 16 samples. The bacterial biofilm consisted predominantly of Alpha-, Gamma- and Deltaproteobacteria, as well as Cyanobacteria, Flavobacteriia and Cytophaga, whereas putative settlement-inducing taxa only accounted for a small fraction of the community. Bacterial biofilm composition was heterogeneous with approximately 25% shared operational taxonomic units between samples. Among the observed environmental parameters, pH only had a weak effect on community composition (R² ~ 1%) and did not affect community richness and evenness. In contrast, there were strong differences between upper and lower surfaces (contrasting in light exposure and grazing intensity). There also appeared to be a strong interaction between bacterial biofilm composition and the macroscopic components of the tile community. Our results suggest that on mature settlement surfaces in situ, pH does not have a strong impact on the composition of bacterial biofilms. Other abiotic and biotic factors such as light exposure and interactions with other organisms may be more important in shaping bacterial biofilms than changes in seawater pH.

Supplement to: Hassenrück, Christiane; Tegetmeyer, Halina; Ramette, Alban; Fabricius, Katharina Elisabeth (2017): Minor impacts of reduced pH on bacterial biofilms on settlement tiles along natural pH gradients at two CO2 seeps in Papua New Guinea. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 10 pp

Related Identifier
Metadata Access
Creator Hassenrück, Christiane ; Tegetmeyer, Halina ; Ramette, Alban ; Fabricius, Katharina Elisabeth
Publisher PANGAEA
Publication Year 2016
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported;
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Publication Series of Datasets; Collection
Format application/zip
Size 2 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (150.820W, -9.820S, 150.869E, -9.737N)
Temporal Coverage Begin 2012-01-01T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2013-06-08T00:00:00Z