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Dynamics of hydrology and anaerobic hydrocarbon degrader communities in a tar-oil contaminated aquifer.

Microorganisms 7:46 (2019)
Publ. Version/Full Text Research data DOI
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Aquifers are typically perceived as rather stable habitats, characterized by low biogeochemical and microbial community dynamics. Upon contamination, aquifers shift to a perturbed ecological status, in which specialized populations of contaminant degraders establish and mediate aquifer restoration. However, the ecological controls of such degrader populations, and possible feedbacks between hydraulic and microbial habitat components, remain poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence of such couplings, via 4 years of annual sampling of groundwater and sediments across a high-resolution depth-transect of a hydrocarbon plume. Specialized anaerobic degrader populations are known to be established at the reactive fringes of the plume. Here, we show that fluctuations of the groundwater table were paralleled by pronounced dynamics of biogeochemical processes, pollutant degradation, and plume microbiota. Importantly, a switching in maximal relative abundance between dominant degrader populations within the Desulfobulbaceae and Desulfosporosinus spp. was observed after hydraulic dynamics. Thus, functional redundancy amongst anaerobic hydrocarbon degraders could have been relevant in sustaining biodegradation processes after hydraulic fluctuations. These findings contribute to an improved ecological perspective of contaminant plumes as a dynamic microbial habitat, with implications for both monitoring and remediation strategies in situ.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Btex ; Anaerobic Toluene Degradation ; Benzylsuccinate Synthase ; Microbial Community Dynamics ; Next-generation Sequencing; Biogeochemical Gradients; Microbial Communities; Assembly Processes; Toluene Degraders; Water-table; Biodegradation; Recharge; Biodiversity; Terrestrial; Diversity
ISSN (print) / ISBN 2076-2607
e-ISSN 2076-2607
Journal Microorganisms
Quellenangaben Volume: 7, Issue: 2, Pages: , Article Number: 46 Supplement: ,
Publisher MDPI
Publishing Place Basel
Reviewing status Peer reviewed