Ecogenomics reveals metals and land-use pressures on microbial communities in the waterways of a megacity
Reference: Environmental Science & Technology (2015) 49(3): 1462-1471

Networks of engineered waterways are critical in meeting the growing water demands in megacities. To capture and treat rainwater in an energy-efficient manner, approaches can be developed for such networks that use ecological services from microbial communities. Traditionally, engineered waterways were regarded as homogeneous systems with little responsiveness of ecological communities and ensuing processes. This study provides ecogenomics-derived key information to explain the complexity of urban aquatic ecosystems in well-managed watersheds with densely interspersed land-use patterns. Overall, sedimentary microbial communities had higher richness and evenness compared to the suspended communities in water phase. On the basis of PERMANOVA analysis, variation in structure and functions of microbial communities over space within same land-use type was not significant. In contrast, this difference was significant between different land-use types, which had similar chemical profiles. Of the 36 environmental parameters from spatial analysis, only three metals, namely potassium, copper and aluminum significantly explained between 7% and 11% of the variation in taxa and functions, based on distance-based linear models (DistLM). The ecogenomics approach adopted here allows the identification of key drivers of microbial communities and their functions at watershed-scale. These findings can be used to enhance microbial services, which are critical to develop ecologically friendly waterways in rapidly urbanizing environments.

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Published By
Saxena G., Marzinelli E., Naing N.N., He Z., Yang L., Tom L., Mitra S., Ping H., Joshi U.M., Reuben S., Mynampati K.C., Mishra S., Umashankar S., Zhou J., Andersen G.L., Kjelleberg S., Swarup S.