Seidel L, Broman E, Turner S, Ståhle M, Dopson M
Sci Rep 11 (1) 23384 [2021-12-03; online 2021-12-03]
Coastal aquatic systems suffer from nutrient enrichment, which results in accelerated eutrophication effects due to increased microbial metabolic rates. Climate change related prolonged warming will likely accelerate existing eutrophication effects, including low oxygen concentrations. However, how the interplay between these environmental changes will alter coastal ecosystems is poorly understood. In this study, we compared 16S rRNA gene amplicon based bacterial communities in coastal sediments of a Baltic Sea basin in November 2013 and 2017 at three sites along a water depth gradient with varying bottom water oxygen histories. The shallow site showed changes of only 1.1% in relative abundance of bacterial populations in 2017 compared to 2013, while the deep oxygen-deficient site showed up to 11% changes in relative abundance including an increase of sulfate-reducing bacteria along with a 36% increase in organic matter content. The data suggested that bacterial communities in shallow sediments were more resilient to seasonal oxygen decline, while bacterial communities in sediments subjected to long-term hypoxia seemed to be sensitive to oxygen changes and were likely to be under hypoxic/anoxic conditions in the future. Our data demonstrate that future climate changes will likely fuel eutrophication related spread of low oxygen zones.