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The characterisation of eukaryotic microbial communities on sandstone buildings in Belfast, UK, using TRFLP and 454 pyrosequencing

Cutler, Nick A.; Oliver, Anna E.; Viles, Heather A.; Ahmad, Samin; Whiteley, Andrew S.. 2013 The characterisation of eukaryotic microbial communities on sandstone buildings in Belfast, UK, using TRFLP and 454 pyrosequencing. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 82. 124-133. 10.1016/j.ibiod.2013.03.010

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Abstract/Summary

Eukaryotic microorganisms, notably microbial algae and fungi, can have a major impact on the biodeterioration of building stone, particularly when they form green biofilms. However, comparatively little is known about the composition and structure of eukaryotic communities living on the surface of stone. The twin aims of this study were to a) characterise algal and fungal communities living on heritage structures in Belfast, UK and b) to investigate the relationship between eukaryotic community composition and a variety of substrate characteristics. We used molecular techniques (TRFLP and 454 pyrosequencing) to characterise the communities. We found unexpectedly high levels of taxonomic richness in algal communities, but low overall levels of diversity in both the algal and the fungal assemblages resulting from inequitable distributions of taxa. Our findings suggest the existence of a small pool of cosmopolitan algal species and relatively homogeneous algal communities on sandstone structures. In contrast, fungal communities were much richer and more spatially heterogeneous. It is likely that the aggressive chemical cleaning of one of the structures in the 1980s has had an ongoing impact on microbial community structure. Furthermore, whilst substrate characteristics seem to impact on the abundance/biomass of eukaryotic microbial communities, they do not influence diversity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.ibiod.2013.03.010
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.1 - Interactions ... structure ecosystems and their functioning
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.3 - Identify indicators and traits of ecosystem status ...
CEH Sections: Acreman
ISSN: 0964-8305
Additional Keywords: lithobiontic eukaryotes, sandstone heritage structures, TRFLP, pyrosequencing, microbial community structure
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 18 Mar 2014 13:50 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/506030

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