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Marine Pollution Bulletin
Vol. xx, No.
xx, 2014; Page: xx-xx

Interactive effects of hypoxia and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) on microbial community assembly in surface marine sediments

Yuki Chan, Amy Li, Singaram Gopalakrishnan, Paul K.S. Shin, Rudolf S.S. Wu, Stephen B. Pointing, Jill M.Y. Chiu

Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


Hypoxia alters the oxidation–reduction balance and the biogeochemical processes in sediments, but little is known about its impacts on the microbial community that is responsible for such processes. In this study, we investigated the effects of hypoxia and the ubiquitously dispersed flame-retardant BDE47 on the bacterial communities in marine surface sediments during a 28-days microcosm experiment. Both hypoxia and BDE47 alone significantly altered the bacterial community and reduced the species and genetic diversity. UniFrac analysis revealed that BDE47 selected certain bacterial species and resulted in major community shifts, whereas hypoxia changed the relative abundances of taxa, suggesting slower but nonetheless significant community shifts. These two stressors targeted mostly different taxa, but they both favored Bacteroidetes and suppressed Gammaproteobacteria. Importantly, the impacts of BDE47 on bacterial communities were different under hypoxic and normoxic conditions, highlighting the need to consider risk assessments for BDE47 in a broader context of interaction with hypoxia.

Keywords: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers; Hypoxia; Marine sediment; Bacterial communities. 

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