Diversity and distribution of sediment bacteria across an ecological and trophic gradient

Hailey M. Sauer, Trinity L. Hamilton, Rika E. Anderson, Charles E. Umbanhowar, Adam J. Heathcote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The microbial communities of lake sediments have the potential to serve as valuable bioindicators and integrators of watershed land-use and water quality; however, the relative sensitivity of these communities to physio-chemical and geographical parameters must be demonstrated at taxonomic resolutions that are feasible by current sequencing and bioinformatic approaches. The geologically diverse and lake-rich state of Minnesota (USA) is uniquely situated to address this potential because of its variability in ecological region, lake type, and watershed land-use. In this study, we selected twenty lakes with varying physiochemical properties across four ecological regions of Minnesota. Our objectives were to (i) evaluate the diversity and composition of the bacterial community at the sediment-water interface and (ii) determine how lake location and watershed land-use impact aqueous chemistry and influence bacterial community structure. Our 16S rRNA amplicon data from lake sediment cores, at two depth intervals, data indicate that sediment communities are more likely to cluster by ecological region rather than any individual lake properties (e.g., trophic status, total phosphorous concentration, lake depth). However, composition is tied to a given lake, wherein samples from the same core were more alike than samples collected at similar depths across lakes. Our results illustrate the diversity within lake sediment microbial communities and provide insight into relationships between taxonomy, physicochemical, and geographic properties of north temperate lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0258079
JournalPloS one
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Sauer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Bacteria/genetics
  • China
  • Geologic Sediments/chemistry
  • Lakes/microbiology
  • Microbiota/genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Journal Article


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