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Influences of hydrodynamics on microbial community assembly and organic carbon composition of resuspended sediments in shallow marginal seas

Hydrodynamic processes play a crucial role in driving the transmission of sediments, likely harboring diverse microbes and heterogeneous organic carbon (OC) in the ocean. Here we conducted continuous micro-erosion experiments on surface sediments retrieved from shallow marginal seas, and analyzed the microbial community structures, OC content, and isotope compositions (δ13C and D14C) of resuspended sediments to investigate the effects of hydrodynamics on microbial assembly and OC composition in marginal seas. Our results showed that gene abundance and major microbial compositions in resuspended sediments changed with varying benthic shear stresses, which evolved towards diversification after continuous hydrodynamic erosion. Aerobic bacteria were more likely to be eroded out from sediments under lower shear stresses compared with anaerobic bacteria. Our study provides evidence that hydrodynamic disturbances shape the assembly of microbial communities with different metabolic functions, especially for bacteria, which may spatially influence the microbial-mediated biogeochemical transformation in marginal seas. Isotopic results revealed that more terrestrial OC was resuspended under initial erosion, while more marine OC was eroded out with increasing shear stresses, suggesting that hydrodynamics may control the redistribution of different sourced OC and contribute to the dispersion and degradation of terrestrial OC during transport process. Our findings further suggest that the nature of resuspended OC may influence the assembly of sediment-attached microbes due to their metabolic preference for carbon sources, as evidenced by correlations between OC compositions and microbial diversity and abundance. We thus suggest that hydrodynamic disturbance is an extrinsic physical driver of OC redistribution and microbial reassembly, whereas OC may be an intrinsic factor influencing microbial colonization, helping to interpret the spatial heterogeneity of microbes and OC compositions observed in marginal sea sediments. Our study underscores the significant roles of hydrodynamic-driven sediment resuspension in shaping diverse microbial communities and redistributing OC in aquatic systems, and highlights the importance of this process in biogeochemical cycles and ecological environment evolution in shallow marginal sea systems.

Reference:

Che, Y., Lin, C., Li, S., Liu, J., Zhu, L., Yu, S., Wang, N., Li, H., Bao, M., Zhou, Y., Si, T., Bao, R* (2024). Influences of hydrodynamics on microbial community assembly and organic carbon composition of resuspended sediments in shallow marginal seas. Water Research 248, 120882. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2023.120882.