Scientific article

Endospore-forming bacteria as new proxies to assess impact of eutrophication in Lake Geneva (Switzerland–France)

Published inAquatic sciences, vol. 76, no. S1, p. 103-116
Publication date2014

Measurements of chemical composition and biological parameters of sediment cores are used as proxies for changes in past environmental conditions and more recently the human impact on ecosystem health. In this study, endospore-forming bacteria are proposed as a new biological proxy for such paleoecological reconstructions. A sediment core providing a record for the past 90 years (137Cs and magnetic susceptibility dating) was retrieved from the Rhone Delta of Lake Geneva. X-ray fluorescence was analyzed at a 0.2-cm resolution, while DNA extracts, elemental geochemistry and grain size were obtained at 4-cm intervals. The total number of bacteria and endospore- forming bacteria were quantified by qPCR using the 16S rRNA gene and the endosporulation-specific spo0A gene. Furthermore, a spo0A fragment was subjected to amplicon sequencing to define OTUs (operational taxonomic units) and the phylogenetic affiliation of the endospore formers. The results showed that despite the fact that the quantity of extracted DNA decreased with the age of the sediment, the abundance of endospore-forming bacteria remained constant. However, the diversity of this group of bacteria changed significantly, reflecting the eutrophication of the lake from 1960 to 1990. The shift in community composition was linked to the dominance of anaerobic clostridia-like endospore formers. This trend has reversed in the last 10 years of the record, suggesting a recovery after perturbation. This study shows that the abundance and diversity of endospore-forming bacteria can be used as proxies to reconstruct lake history. We hereby successfully introduce a new strategy for paleoecology that could also be applied to ocean sediments and long sediment cores.

  • Endospore-forming bacteria
  • Paleoecological proxy
  • Sediment record
  • Lake Geneva
  • Human impact
  • Eutrophication
  • Rhône delta
  • Autre - elemo
Citation (ISO format)
WUNDERLIN, Tina et al. Endospore-forming bacteria as new proxies to assess impact of eutrophication in Lake Geneva (Switzerland–France). In: Aquatic sciences, 2014, vol. 76, n° S1, p. 103–116. doi: 10.1007/s00027-013-0329-0
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1015-1621

Technical informations

Creation06/06/2014 6:34:00 PM
First validation06/06/2014 6:34:00 PM
Update time03/14/2023 9:18:04 PM
Status update03/14/2023 9:18:03 PM
Last indexation01/16/2024 10:50:56 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack