Hyporheic sediment bacterial communities were exposed to dissolved organic matter (DOM) from a variety of sources to assess the interdependence of bacterial metabolism and community composition. Experiments ranged from small-scale core perfusions with defined compounds (glucose, bovine serum albumin) to mesocosms receiving natural leaf leachate or water from different streams. Response variables included bacterial production, oxygen consumption, extracellular enzyme activity, and community similarity as manifest by changes in banding patterns of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). All DOM manipulations generated responses in at least one metabolic variable. Additions of both labile and recalcitrant materials increased either oxygen consumption, production, or both depending on background DOM. Enzyme activities were affected by both types of carbon addition with largest effects from the labile mixture. Cluster analysis of RAPD data showed strong divergence of communities exposed to labile versus recalcitrant DOM. Additions of leaf leachate to mesocosms representing hyporheic flow-paths caused increases in oxygen consumption and some enzyme activities with weaker effects on production. Community structure yeas strongly affected; samples from the leachate-amended mesocosms clustered separately from the control samples. In mesocosms receiving water from streams ranging in DOC (0.5-4.5 mg L-1), there were significant differences in bacterial growth, oxygen consumption, and enzyme activities. RAPD analysis showed strongest clustering of samples by stream type with more subtle effects of position along the flowpaths. Responses in community metabolism were always accompanied by shifts in community composition, suggesting carbon supply affects both functional and structural attributes of hyporheic bacterial communities.
Additional publication details
Metabolic and structural response of hyporheic microbial communities to variations in supply of dissolved organic matter