Effects of temperature and fertilization on the structure of total versus active bacterial communities from sub-Antarctic seawater exposed to crude oil and diesel fuel
Polar environments are exposed to the risk of oil pollution. However, there is limited knowledge regarding how the variation of physicochemical factors influencing biodegradation may affect bacterial community structure. The effects of temperature (4, 10 and 20°C) and organic fertilization (Inipol EAP 22) on community structure and diversity of bacteria inhabiting Kerguelen sub-Antarctic waters were studied in crude- and diesel-amended microcosms. Dynamics of total (i.e., 16S rDNA-based) and metabolically active (i.e., 16S rRNA-based) bacterial community structure and diversity were monitored using capillary-electrophoresis single-strand conformation polymorphism. Results showed that total and active community structures were differently influenced by temperature and fertilization in the presence of hydrocarbons. Both fertilization and temperature induced changes in total community structure in the presence of crude oil and diesel. However, temperature showed a limited influence on active community structure, and fertilization induced changes in the presence of crude oil only. Simpson’s index decreased for total bacterial communities at all temperatures in the presence of crude oil and diesel, whereas a lower reduction was observed for active bacterial populations. In the presence of fertilizer, the diversity of the whole community approached control values after seven incubation weeks; this was not observed for the active bacterial community. This study evidenced qualitative differences in total and active bacterial community structures of Kerguelen seawaters in the presence of hydrocarbons and different responses relative to variation in temperature and fertilization. These factors and hydrocarbons composition have to be taken into account to understand bacterial community dynamics after an oil spill.
Keywords: Oil hydrocarbons; Inipol EAP 22; temperature; 16S rDNA/rRNA; sub-Antarctic seawater
Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 18521, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.18521
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.