Sulfide intrusion in a habitat forming seagrass can be predicted from relative abundance of sulfur cycling genes in sediments

Matthew W. Fraser, Belinda C. Martin, Hon Lun Wong, Brendan P. Burns, Gary A. Kendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sulfide intrusion from sediments is an increasingly recognized contributor to seagrass declines globally, yet the relationship between sediment microorganisms and sulfide intrusion has received little attention. Here, we use metagenomic sequencing and stable isotope (34S) analysis to examine this relationship in Cockburn Sound, Australia, a seagrass-dominated embayment with a gradient of sulfide stress and seagrass declines. There was a significant positive relationship between sulfide intrusion into seagrasses and sulfate reduction genes in sediment microbial communities, which was greatest at sites with long term seagrass declines. This is the first demonstration of a significant link between sulfur cycling genes present in seagrass sediments and sulfide intrusion in a habitat-forming seagrass that is experiencing long-term shoot density decline. Given that microorganisms respond rapidly to environmental change, the quantitative links established in this study can be used as a potential management tool to enable the prediction of sulfide stress on large habitat forming seagrasses; a global issue expected to worsen with climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161144
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume864
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023

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