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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00869

Taxon-function decoupling as an adaptive signature of lake microbial metacommunities under a chronic polymetallic pollution gradient

 Bachar Cheaib1*,  Malo Le boulch2, Pierre-luc Mercier1 and  Nicolas Derome1
  • 1Biology, Laval University, Canada
  • 2Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France

Adaptation of microbial communities to anthropogenic stressors can lead to reductions in microbial diversity and disequilibrium of ecosystem services. Such adaptation can change the molecular signatures of communities with differences in taxonomic and functional composition. Understanding the relationship between taxonomic and functional variation remains a critical issue in microbial ecology. Here, we assessed the taxonomic and functional diversity of a lake metacommunity system along a polymetallic pollution gradient caused by 60 years of chronic exposure to acid mine drainage (AMD). Our results highlight three adaptive signatures. First, a signature of taxon - function decoupling was detected in the microbial communities of moderately and highly polluted lakes. Second, parallel shifts in taxonomic composition occurred between polluted and unpolluted lakes. Third, variation in the abundance of functional modules suggested a gradual deterioration of ecosystem services (i.e. photosynthesis) and secondary metabolism in highly polluted lakes. Overall, changes in the abundance of taxa, function, and more importantly the polymetallic resistance genes such as copA, copB, czcA, cadR,cCusA, were correlated with trace metal content (mainly Cadmium) and acidity. Our findings highlight the impact of polymetallic pollution gradient at the lowest trophic levels.

Keywords: Toxic metals, Taxon-function decoupling, pollution gradient, adaptation signatures, ecosystem services

Received: 02 Sep 2017; Accepted: 16 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Florence Abram, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland

Reviewed by:

Zhili He, University of Oklahoma, United States
David G. Biron, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France
Shishir K. Gupta, Department of Bioinformatics, Biocentre, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany
Jonathan E. Maldonado, Universidad de Chile, Chile  

Copyright: © 2018 Cheaib, Le boulch, Mercier and Derome. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Bachar Cheaib, Laval University, Biology, Quebec City, Canada,