Characteristics of spatial and seasonal bacterial community structures in a river under anthropogenic disturbances

Liao OUYANG, Huirong CHEN, Xinyue LIU, Ming Hung WONG, Fangfang XU, Xuewei YANG, Wang XU, Qinghuai ZENG, Weimin WANG, Shuangfei LI

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48 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, the seasonal characteristics of microbial community compositions at different sites in a river under anthropogenic disturbances (Maozhou River) were analyzed using Illumina HiSeq sequencing. Taxonomic analysis revealed that Proteobacteria was the most abundant phylum in all sites, followed by Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria and Firmicutes. The variations of the community diversities and compositions between the seasons were not significant. However, significant differences between sites as well as water and sediment samples were observed. These results indicated that sites under different levels of anthropogenic disturbances have selected distinct bacterial communities. pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), concentrations of total nitrogen (TN) and heavy metals were the main factors that influence the diversity and the composition of bacterial community. Specifically, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria was negatively correlated with pH and DO and positively correlated with TN, while Actinobacteria and Verrucomicrobia showed the opposite pattern. Moreover, positive correlations between the relative abundances of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes and the concentration of heavy metals were also found. Results of functional prediction analysis showed no significant differences of the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism across the sites and seasons. Potential pathogens such as Vibrio, Arcobacter, Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas were found in these samples, which may pose potential risks for environment and human health. This study reveals the effect of anthropogenic activities on the riverine bacterial community compositions and provides new insights into the relationships between the environmental factors and the bacterial community distributions in a freshwater ecosystem under anthropogenic disturbances. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114818
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online dateMay 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


Ouyang, L., Chen, H., Liu, X., Wong, M. H., Xu, F., Yang, X., . . . Li, S. (2020). Characteristics of spatial and seasonal bacterial community structures in a river under anthropogenic disturbances. Environmental Pollution, 264. Retrieved from


  • River
  • DNA extraction and sequencing
  • Anthropogenic activities
  • Nutrients
  • Heavy metals


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