Spatial and temporal variability of bacterial communities in high alpine water spring sediments
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Water springs are complex, fragile and taxa-rich environments, especially in highly dynamic ecosystems such as glacier forefields experiencing glacier retreat. Bacterial communities are important actors in alpine water body metabolism, and have shown both high seasonal and spatial variations. Seven springs from a high alpine valley (Matsch Valley, South Tyrol, Italy) were examined via a multidisciplinary approach using both hydrochemical and microbiological techniques. Amplified ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) and electric conductivity (EC) measurements, as well as elemental composition and water stable isotopic analyses, were performed. Our target was to elucidate whether and how bacterial community structure is influenced by water chemistry, and to determine the origin and extent of variation in space and time. There existed variations in both space and time for all variables measured. Diversity values more markedly differed at the beginning of summer and then at the end; the extent of variation in space was prevalent over the time scale. Bacterial community structural variation responded to hydrochemical parameter changes; moreover, the stability of the hydrochemical parameters played an important role in shaping distinctive bacterial communities. © 2016 Institut Pasteur.
Available online 9 January 2016