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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2006

Microbial community structure in polluted Baltic Sea sediments

Edlund A, Soule T, Sjoling S, Jansson JK


Nearly half the seabed of the Baltic Proper is incapable of supporting life of higher organisms as a consequence of oxygen depletion resulting from eutrophication. However, these areas are actually teeming with microbial life. Here we used terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) to investigate the dominant archaeal and bacterial groups, with respect to community structure, in surface layers of bottom sediments of the Baltic Sea along a coastal pollution gradient. Both archaeal and bacterial communities formed distinct clusters along the pollution gradient and the community compositions were different at the polluted sites compared with the relatively clean reference sites. The structures of the bacterial communities were most strongly correlated to water depth, followed by organic carbon, oxygen, salinity and silicate levels. In contrast, the structures of the archaeal communities were most strongly correlated to oxygen, salinity, organic carbon, silicate and nitrate levels. Some members of the microbial communities were identified using a combination of traditional and molecular approaches. Isolates obtained on different culture media were identified by partial sequencing of their 16S rRNA genes and some novel species were found. In addition, we developed a computer program, APLAUS, to elucidate the putative identities of the most dominant community members by T-RFLP

Published in

Environmental Microbiology
2006, volume: 8, number: 2, pages: 223-232

Authors' information

Jansson, Janet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Microbiology
Edlund, Anna
Soule, Terence
Sjöling, Sara

UKÄ Subject classification

Economics and Business
Fish and Aquacultural Science
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Social Sciences

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