Demonstration of facilitation between microalgae to face environmental stress

Type Article
Date 2019-11
Language English
Author(s) Krichen Emna1, 2, Rapaport Alain2, Le Floc'h Emilie1, Fouilland Eric1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Montpellier, MARBEC, CNRS, IFREMER,IRD, Sete, France.
2 : Univ Montpellier, MISTEA, INRA, SupAgro, Montpellier, France.
Source Scientific Reports (2045-2322) (Nature Publishing Group), 2019-11 , Vol. 9 , P. 16076 (11p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-52450-9
WOS© Times Cited 17

Positive interactions such as facilitation play an important role during the biological colonization and species succession in harsh or changing environments. However, the direct evidence of such ecological interaction in microbial communities remains rare. Using common freshwater microalgae isolated from a High Rate Algal Pond HRAP treating wastewaters, we investigated with both experimental and modeling approaches the direct facilitation between two algal strains during the colonization phase. Our results demonstrate that the first colonization by microalgae under a severe chemical condition arose from the rapid growth of pioneer species such as Chlorella sorokiniana, which facilitated the subsequent colonization of low growth specialists such as Scenedesmus pectinatus. The pioneer species rapidly depleted the total available ammonia nitrogen favoring the specialist species initially inhibited by free ammonia toxicity. This latter species ultimately dominated the algal community through competitive exclusion under low nutrient conditions. We show that microbial successions are not only regulated by climatic conditions but also by interactions between species based on the ability to modify their growth conditions. We suggest that facilitation within the aquatic microbial communities is a widespread ecological interaction under a vast range of environmental stress.

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