Fine-scale temporal dynamics of a fragmented lotic microbial ecosystem

Amitai Or, Lilach Shtrasler, Uri Gophna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Microbial ecosystems are often assumed to be relatively stable over short periods of time, but this assumption is seldom tested. An urban stream influenced by both flow and varying levels of anthropogenic influences is expected to have high temporal variability in microbial composition, and short-term ecological instability. Thus, we analyzed the bacterioplankton composition of a weir-fragmented urban stream using Automated rRNA Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA). A total of 46 sequential samples were collected in July 2009 for 7 days, every 7 hours, from both the up-stream side of the weir (stream water) and the downstream side of the weir (estuarine) water. Bray-Curtis similarity based analysis showed a clear division between upstream and downstream communities. A sudden pH drop induced change in both communities, but composition stability partially recovered within less than a day. Thus, our results show that microbial ecosystems can change rapidly, but re-establish a new equilibrium relatively quickly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number207
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 18 Jan 2012


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