Bacterial community assembly in a typical estuarine marsh with multiple environmental gradients

Zhiyuan Yao, Shicong Du, Chunling Liang, Yueji Zhao, Francisco Dini-Andreote, Kai Wang, Demin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Bacterial communities play essential roles in estuarine marsh ecosystems, but the interplay of ecological processes underlying their community assembly is poorly understood. Here, we studied the sediment bacterial communities along a linear gradient extending from the water-land junction toward a high marsh, using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Bacterial community compositions differed significantly between sediment transects. Physicochemical properties, particularly sediment nutrient levels (i.e., total nitrogen [TN] and available phosphorus [AP]), as well as sediment physical structure and pH (P < 0.05), were strongly associated with the overall community variations. In addition, the topological properties of bacterial cooccurrence networks varied with distance to the water-land junction. Both nodeand network-level topological features revealed that the bacterial network of sediments farthest from the junction was less intense in complexity and interactions than other sediments. Phylogenetic null modeling analysis showed a progressive transition from stochastic to deterministic community assembly for the water-land junction sites toward the emerging terrestrial system. Taken together, data from this study provide a detailed outline of the distribution pattern of the sediment bacterial community across an estuarine marsh and inform the mechanisms and processes mediating bacterial community assembly in marsh soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02602-18
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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