Natural and anthropogenic carbon input affect microbial activity in salt marsh sediment
Frates, Erin S.
Spietz, Rachel L.
Silverstein, Michael R.
Marlow, Jeffrey J.
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Salt marshes are dynamic, highly productive ecosystems positioned at the interface between terrestrial and marine systems. They are exposed to large quantities of both natural and anthropogenic carbon input, and their diverse sediment-hosted microbial communities play key roles in carbon cycling and remineralization. To better understand the effects of natural and anthropogenic carbon on sediment microbial ecology, several sediment cores were collected from Little Sippewissett Salt Marsh (LSSM) on Cape Cod, MA, USA and incubated with either Spartina alterniflora cordgrass or diesel fuel. Resulting shifts in microbial diversity and activity were assessed via bioorthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging (BONCAT) combined with fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Both Spartina and diesel amendments resulted in initial decreases of microbial diversity as well as clear, community-wide shifts in metabolic activity. Multi-stage degradative frameworks shaped by fermentation were inferred based on anabolically active lineages. In particular, the metabolically versatile Marinifilaceae were prominent under both treatments, as were the sulfate-reducing Desulfovibrionaceae, which may be attributable to their ability to utilize diverse forms of carbon under nutrient limited conditions. By identifying lineages most directly involved in the early stages of carbon processing, we offer potential targets for indicator species to assess ecosystem health and highlight key players for selective promotion of bioremediation or carbon sequestration pathways.
Frates ES, Spietz RL, Silverstein MR, Girguis P, Hatzenpichler R and Marlow JJ (2023) Natural and anthropogenic carbon input affect microbial activity in salt marsh sediment. Front. Microbiol. 14:1235906. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1235906