Changes in bacterial community structure associated with coastal copper enrichment

Ana C. Morán, Martha B. Hengst, Rodrigo De La Iglesia, Santiago Andrade, Juan A. Correa, Bernardo González

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34 Scopus citations


Marine bacterial communities isolated from the water column, sediment, the rock surface, and the green seaweed Ulva compressa were studied in an intertidal ecosystem. The study area included a coastal zone chronically affected by copper mine waste disposals. Bacterial community composition was analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of 16S rRNA genes, and multivariate analyses of T-RFLP data sets were used for comparisons. Results showed that diversity and richness indexes were not able to detect differences among compartments. However, comparisons within the same compartment clearly showed that copper enrichment was associated with changes in the composition of the bacterial communities and revealed that the magnitude of the effect depends on the compartment being considered. In this context, communities from sediments appeared as the most affected by copper enrichment. The present study also demonstrated that intertidal bacterial communities were dominated by Gammaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Actinobacteria and the changes in these communities were mainly due to changes in their relative abundances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2239-2245
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Copper enrichment
  • Intertidal rocky shores
  • Marine bacterial communities


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