Exploration of marine bacterioplankton community assembly mechanisms during chemical dispersant and surfactant-assisted oil biodegradation

Christina Nikolova, Umer Zeeshan Ijaz, Tony Gutierrez

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Abstract

Assembly processes in marine microbial communities amended with crude oil and chemical dispersant are poorly understood and even more so when biosurfactants are used. We set up a microcosm experiment in which microbiome structure was analyzed using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and six null models to better understand and quantify the mechanisms and patterns controlling the assembly of a marine crude oil degrading microbial community in the presence of chemical dispersant or rhamnolipid biosurfactant. Although each null model quantifies different aspects of the community assembly, there was a general agreement that neither purely stochastic nor purely deterministic processes dominated the microbial communities, and their influence was variable over time. Determinism was dominant in the early phase of incubation, while stochasticity was prevalent in the middle and late stages. There was faster recruitment of phylogenetically distant species in the dispersant-amended community compared to oil-only or rhamnolipid-amended communities. This analysis provides important insights of how chemical dispersants and rhamnolipid influence microbial communities' dynamics and identified which groups may be excluded—an important consideration for biodegradation process and oil spill response.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology and Evolution
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • community assembly
  • crude oil
  • deterministic
  • dispersant
  • marine
  • microbial
  • null model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology

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