Plankton community assessment in anthropogenic-impacted oligotrophic coastal regions

John K. Pearman, Fidan Afandi, Pei-Ying Hong, Susana Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Microbial planktonic communities are critical components of marine biogeochemical pathways. Despite this, there is still limited knowledge on the dynamics of this group in warm and oligotrophic waters. We used high-throughput sequencing to characterise the bacterial (16S rRNA) and eukaryotic (18S rRNA) microbial plankton communities in two regions under the influence of anthropogenic impacts (a port and sewage outflow) and a coastal region with no direct anthropogenic disturbances in the central Red Sea. Overall, bacterial and eukaryotic components responded in a similar way to the environmental conditions. Community composition and structure were more sensitive than alpha diversity measures to environmental impacts. With the exception of eukaryotes, for which the number of OTU differed significantly between sampling periods in all the regions, environmental changes associated with anthropogenic pressures seem to be better reflected by variations in the relative dominance of microbial groups. For example, elevated proportional abundances of nitrifying and sewage-/faecal-related bacteria at the impacted sites were observed compared with the coastal region. The recently developed microgAMBI also appeared to correlate well with the level of anthropogenic impact the regions experienced, showing the potential to be applied in oligotrophic waters.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31017-31030
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number31
StatePublished - Sep 4 2018


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