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Keywords:

  • invasive species;
  • wetland;
  • microbial community;
  • T-RFLP;
  • nirS

Abstract

Sediments from Cheboygan Marsh, a coastal freshwater wetland on Lake Huron that has been invaded by an emergent exotic plant, Typha×glauca, were examined to assess the effects of invasion on wetland nutrient levels and sediment microbial communities. Comparison of invaded and uninvaded zones of the marsh indicated that the invaded zone showed significantly lower plant diversity, as well as significantly higher aboveground plant biomass and soil organic matter. The sediments in the invaded zone also showed dramatically higher concentrations of soluble nutrients, including greater than 10-fold higher soluble ammonium, nitrate, and phosphate, which suggests that Typha×glauca invasion may be impacting the wetland's ability to remove nutrients. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses revealed significant differences in the composition of total bacterial communities (based on 16S-rRNA genes) and denitrifier communities (based on nirS genes) between invaded and uninvaded zones. This shift in denitrifiers in the sediments may be ecologically significant due to the critical role that denitrifying bacteria play in removal of nitrogen by wetlands.