Large-scale seaweed cultivation diverges water and sediment microbial communities in the coast of Nan’ao Island, South China Sea

Seaweed cultivation not only provides economy benefits, but also remediates the environment contaminated by mariculture of animals (e.g., fish, shrimps). However, the response of microbial communities to seaweed cultivation is poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the diversity, composition, and structure of water and sediment microbial communities at a seaweed, Gracilaria lemaneiformis, cultivation zone and a control zone near Nan’ao Island, South China Sea by MiSeq sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. We found that large-scale cultivation of G. lemaneiformis increased dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH but decreased inorganic nutrients, possibly due to nutrient uptake, photosynthesis and other physiological processes of G. lemaneiformis. These environmental changes significantly (adonis, P < 0.05) shifted the microbial community composition and structure of both water column and sediment samples in the G. lemaneiformis cultivation zone, compared to the control zone. Also, certain microbial taxa associated with seaweed, such as Arenibacter, Croceitalea, Glaciecola, Leucothrix and Maribacter were enriched at the cultivation zone. In addition, we have proposed a conceptual model to summarize the results in this study and guide future studies on relationships among seaweed processes, microbial communities and their environments. Thus, this study not only provides new insights into our understanding the effect of G. lemaneiformis cultivation on microbial communities, but also guides future studies on coastal ecosystems.

Xie X., He Z., Hu X., Yin H., Liu X. & Yang Y., 2017. Large-scale seaweed cultivation diverges water and sediment microbial communities in the coast of Nan’ao Island, South China Sea. Science of The Total Environment 598:97–108. Article (subscription required).

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