The impact of urbanisation on community structure, gene abundance and transcription rates of microbes in upland swamps of Eastern Australia

Nicole A. Christiansen, Kirstie A. Fryirs, Timothy J. Green, Grant C. Hose

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    38 Downloads (Pure)


    The Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone of the Sydney Basin occur in the headwaters of Sydney's drinking water catchments and are listed as endangered ecosystems, yet they have suffered habitat losses and degradation due to human impacts such as urbanisation. Despite ongoing efforts to restore and better protect upland swamps, they remain poorly understood, potentially hindering the effectiveness of management efforts. Essential to overall ecosystem function and the provision of services for human and environmental benefit are the microbial component of wetland ecosystems. In the case of these swamps, the microbes, have not yet been studied. Here, we investigated differences in the microbial community of upland swamps in urbanised catchments compared to swamps from natural catchments in the Blue Mountains. A total of twelve swamps were sampled, six from within urbanised catchments and six with intact vegetation catchments, to compare sediment conditions and microbial community and genes expression and abundances. Catchment impervious area and number of stormwater drains entering a swamp, indicators for urbanisation, positively correlated with the pH and ammonium concentration of swamp sediment. Community analysis of the 16S rRNA gene (T-RFLP, qPCR) revealed the elevated pH of urbanised swamps coincided with changes to the abundance of bacteria and archaea. Furthermore, RT-qPCR revealed genes involved in carbon cycling (mcrA & pmoA) were more likely to be found in urbanised swamps. Taken together, our results indicate that urbanisation of the Blue Mountains is impacting the environmental services provided by the microbial community of upland swamps in the Sydney Basin.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0213275
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of urbanisation on community structure, gene abundance and transcription rates of microbes in upland swamps of Eastern Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this