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Adaptation of sympatric Achromatium spp. to different redox conditions as a mechanism for coexistence of functionally similar sulphur bacteria

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Neil GrayORCiD, Dr Ian Miskin, Professor Ian Head


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Changes in the abundance of sympatric Achromatium spp. in response to the artificial manipulation of redox conditions in sediment microcosms was determined by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Adaptation to different redox conditions was shown to be one mechanism that supported the coexistence of functionally similar Achromatium spp. In sediment microcosms, in which the overlying water was oxygenated, Achromatium community size and composition remained unchanged over time. However, imposition of anoxic conditions induced changes in community structure. Anoxia caused a reduction in the relative abundance of Achromatium sp. RY8 (72 ± 4% to 49 ± 2%) and an increase in Achromatium sp. RY5 (19 ± 5% to 32 ± 3%) and a newly identified Achromatium sp., RYKS (14 ± 4% to 27 ± 2%). In anoxic microcosms supplemented with a single addition of nitrate at different initial concentrations the relative decline in Achromatium sp. RY8 was dependent on the initial nitrate concentration. In these experiments nitrate was rapidly removed. In contrast, when high levels of nitrate were maintained by periodic replacement of the overlying water with nitrate supplemented anoxic water, the composition of the Achromatium community remained stable over time. This suggested that all of the coexisting Achromatium spp. are obligate or facultative anaerobes, but, Achromatium sp. RY8 was more sensitive to sediment redox conditions than the other Achromatium species. Given the heterogeneous nature of sedimentary environments, redox-related niche differentiation may promote coexistence of sympatric Achromatium spp.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gray ND, Comaskey D, Miskin IP, Pickup RW, Suzuki K, Head IM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Microbiology

Year: 2004

Volume: 6

Issue: 7

Pages: 669-677

ISSN (print): 1462-2912

ISSN (electronic): 1462-2920

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2004.00607.x

PubMed id: 15186345


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