Aquarium Biogeography and Succession of Microbial Communities in Built Aquatic Environments

There has been extensive research conducted to characterize the microbial communities of natural ecosystems and environments. However, much less is known about the communities of microbes associated with the “built environment”--our cars, schools, offices,water pipes, etc. Aquariums are habitats that bridge the natural and built environments and were the focus of this work. In this study, we aim to better understand the biogeography and succession of the microbial communities inhabiting a pair of newly established tanks in the UC Davis Biological Sciences Teaching Laboratory.We utilize 16S rRNA PCR surveys, a culture-independent, DNA-based sequencing method to answer two questions: 1) how does the microbial composition of newly established aquarium systems change over time? 2) how do the environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, pH, oxygen and nutrient concentrations) correlate with these changes? We collected ~500 samples and daily water chemistry data from two new coral ponds to map the succession of microbes over a period of two months.

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CC BY 4.0