Little is currently known regarding microbial community structure, and the environmental factors influencing it, within the anchialine ecosystem, defined as near-shore, land-locked water bodies with subsurface connections to the ocean and groundwater aquifer. The Hawaiian Archipelago is home to numerous anchialine habitats, with some on the islands of Maui and Hawaii harboring unique, laminated orange cyanobacterial–bacterial crusts that independently assembled in relatively young basalt fields. Here, benthic and water column bacterial and micro-eukaryotic communities from nine anchialine habitats on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii were surveyed using high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the V6 (Bacteria-specific) and V9 (Eukarya-biased) hypervariable regions of the 16S- and 18S-rDNA genes, respectively. While benthic communities from habitats with cyanobacterial–bacterial crusts were more similar to each other than to ones lacking it on the same island, each habitat had distinct benthic and water column microbial communities. Analyses of the survey data in the context of environmental factors identified salinity, site, aquifer, and watershed as having the highest explanatory power for the observed variation in microbial diversity and community structure, with lesser drivers being annual rainfall, longitude, ammonium, and dissolved organic carbon. Our results epitomize the abiotic and biotic uniqueness characteristic of individual habitats comprising the Hawaiian anchialine ecosystem.
Hydrobiologia – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 31, 2017
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