Kayleigh Pung, ’11

Olapade, O., & Pung, K. (2012). Plant-associated bacterial populations on native and invasive plant species: comparisons between 2 freshwater environments. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, 58(6), 767-775.

Abstract: Plant–microbial interactions have been well studied because of the ecological importance of such relationships in aquatic systems. However, general knowledge regarding the composition of these biofilm communities is still evolving, partly as a result of several confounding factors that are attributable to plant host properties and to hydrodynamic conditions in aquatic environments. In this study, the occurrences of various bacterial phylogenetic taxa on 2 native plants, i.e., mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum L.) and cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum Bartram), and on an invasive species, i.e., garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara & Grande), were quantitatively examined using nucleic acid staining and fluorescence in situ hybridization. The plants were incubated in triplicates for about a week within the Kalamazoo River and Pierce Cedar Creek as well as in microcosms. The bacterial groups targeted for enumeration are known to globally occur in relatively high abundance and are also ubiquitously distributed in freshwater environments. Fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses of the bacterioplankton assemblages revealed that the majority of bacterial cells that hybridized with the different probes were similar between the 2 sites. In contrast, the plant-associated populations while similar on the 3 plants incubated in Kalamazoo River, their representations were highest on the 2 native plants relative to the invasive species in Pierce Cedar Creek. Overall, our results further suggested that epiphytic bacterial assemblages are probably under the influences of and probably subsequently respond to multiple variables and conditions in aquatic milieus.

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