Application of Illumina next-generation sequencing to characterize the bacterial community of the Upper Mississippi River

Authors

  • C. Staley,

    1. BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
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  • T. Unno,

    1. BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Applied Bioinformatics Lab (ABL), Jeju National University, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, Republic of Korea
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  • T.J. Gould,

    1. BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
    2. Biology Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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  • B. Jarvis,

    1. BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
    2. Biology Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI, USA
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  • J. Phillips,

    1. Biology Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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  • J.B. Cotner,

    1. Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN, USA
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  • M.J. Sadowsky

    Corresponding author
    1. BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
    2. Department of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
    • Correspondence: Michael J. Sadowsky, BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, 140 Gortner Lab, 1479 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.

      E-mail: sadowsky@umn.edu

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Abstract

Aims

A next-generation, Illumina-based sequencing approach was used to characterize the bacterial community at ten sites along the Upper Mississippi River to evaluate shifts in the community potentially resulting from upstream inputs and land use changes. Furthermore, methodological parameters including filter size, sample volume and sample reproducibility were evaluated to determine the best sampling practices for community characterization.

Methods and Results

Community structure and diversity in the river was determined using Illumina next-generation sequencing technology and the V6 hypervariable region of 16S rDNA. A total of 16 400 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were observed (4594 ± 824 OTUs per sample). Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria and Verrucomicrobia accounted for 93·6 ± 1·3% of all sequence reads, and 90·5 ± 2·5% belonged to OTUs shared among all sites (n = 552). Among nonshared sequence reads at each site, 33–49% were associated with potentially anthropogenic impacts upstream of the second sampling site. Alpha diversity decreased with distance from the pristine headwaters, while rainfall and pH were positively correlated with diversity. Replication and smaller filter pore sizes minimally influenced the characterization of community structure.

Conclusions

Shifts in community structure are related to changes in the relative abundance, rather than presence/absence of OTUs, suggesting a ‘core bacterial community’ is present throughout the Upper Mississippi River.

Significance and Impact of the Study

This study is among the first to characterize a large riverine bacterial community using a next-generation-sequencing approach and demonstrates that upstream influences and potentially anthropogenic impacts can influence the presence and relative abundance of OTUs downstream resulting in significant variation in community structure.

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