Wells provide a distorted view of life in the aquifer

implications for sampling, monitoring and assessment of groundwater ecosystems

Kathryn Korbel*, Anthony Chariton, Sarah Stephenson, Paul Greenfield, Grant C. Hose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

When compared to surface ecosystems, groundwater sampling has unique constraints, including limited access to ecosystems through wells. In order to monitor groundwater, a detailed understanding of groundwater biota and what biological sampling of wells truly reflects, is paramount. This study aims to address this uncertainty, comparing the composition of biota in groundwater wells prior to and after purging, with samples collected prior to purging reflecting a potentially artificial environment and samples collected after purging representing the surrounding aquifer. This study uses DNA community profiling (metabarcoding) of 16S rDNA and 18S rDNA, combined with traditional stygofauna sampling methods, to characterise groundwater biota from four catchments within eastern Australia. Aquifer waters were dominated by Archaea and bacteria (e.g. Nitrosopumilales) that are often associated with nitrification processes, and contained a greater proportion of bacteria (e.g. Anaerolineales) associated with fermenting processes compared to well waters. In contrast, unpurged wells contained greater proportions of pathogenic bacteria and bacteria often associated with denitrification processes. In terms of eukaryotes, the abundances of copepods, syncarids and oligochaetes and total abundances of stygofauna were greater in wells than aquifers. These findings highlight the need to consider sampling requirements when completing groundwater ecology surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40702
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. 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.

Keywords

  • RIBOSOMAL-RNA ANALYSIS
  • MICROBIAL COMMUNITIES
  • BACTERIAL COMMUNITY
  • PARTICLE ABUNDANCES
  • EASTERN AUSTRALIA
  • WATER
  • BIODIVERSITY
  • EFFICIENCY
  • DIVERSITY
  • FAUNA

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