Response of sediment microbial community structure in a freshwater reservoir to manipulations in oxygen availability

L Bryant, John C. Little, Helmut Bürgmann

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24 Citations (SciVal)


Hypolimnetic oxygenation systems (HOx) are being increasingly used in freshwater reservoirs to elevate dissolved oxygen levels in the hypolimnion and suppress sediment–water fluxes of soluble metals (e.g. Fe and Mn) which are often microbially mediated. We assessed changes in sediment microbial community structure and corresponding biogeochemical cycling on a reservoir-wide scale as a function of HOx operations. Sediment microbial biomass as quantified by DNA concentration was increased in regions most influenced by the HOx. Following an initial decrease in biomass in the upper sediment while oxygen concentrations were low, biomass typically increased at all depths as the 4-month-long oxygenation season progressed. A distinct shift in microbial community structure was only observed at the end of the season in the upper sediment near the HOx. While this shift was correlated to HOx-enhanced oxygen availability, increased TOC levels and precipitation of Fe- and Mn-oxides, abiotic controls on Fe and Mn cycling, and/or the adaptability of many bacteria to variations in prevailing electron acceptors may explain the delayed response and the comparatively limited changes at other locations. While the sediment microbial community proved remarkably resistant to relatively short-term changes in HOx operations, HOx-induced variation in microbial structure, biomass, and activity was observed after a full season of oxygenation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-263
Number of pages16
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


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