3 years ago

Deep nirS amplicon sequencing of San Francisco Bay sediments enables prediction of geography and environmental conditions from denitrifying community composition

Christopher A. Francis, Jessica A. Lee
Denitrification is a dominant nitrogen loss process in the sediments of San Francisco Bay. In this study, we sought to understand the ecology of denitrifying bacteria by using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to survey the diversity of a denitrification functional gene, nirS (encoding cytchrome-cd1 nitrite reductase), along the salinity gradient of San Francisco Bay over the course of a year. We compared our dataset to a library of nirS sequences obtained previously from the same samples by standard PCR cloning and Sanger sequencing, and showed that both methods similarly demonstrated geography, salinity, and, to a lesser extent, nitrogen, to be strong determinants of community composition. Furthermore, the depth afforded by NGS enabled novel techniques for measuring the association between environment and community composition. We used Random Forests modeling to demonstrate that the site and salinity of a sample could be predicted from its nirS sequences, and to identify indicator taxa associated with those environmental characteristics. This work contributes significantly to our understanding of the distribution and dynamics of denitrifying communities in San Francisco Bay, and provides valuable tools for the further study of this key N-cycling guild in all estuarine systems. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13920

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