Shifts in the pelagic ammonia-oxidizing microbial communities along the eutrophic estuary of Yong River in Ningbo City, China

Qiufang Zhang, Fang-Yuan Tang, Yang-Jing Zhou, Jirong Xu, Heping Chen, Ming-Juang Wang, H.J. Laanbroek

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BACKGROUND: Aerobic ammonia oxidation plays a key role in the nitrogen cycle, and the diversity of the responsible microorganisms is regulated by environmental factors. Abundance and composition of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) were investigated in the surface waters along an environmental gradient of the Yong River in Ningbo, East China. Water samples were collected from three pelagic zones: (1) freshwaters in the urban canals of Ningbo, (2) brackish waters in the downstream Yong River, and (3) coastal marine water of Hangzhou Bay. Shifts in activity and diversity of the ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms occurred simultaneously with changes in environmental factors, among which salinity and the availabilities of ammonium and oxygen. The AOA abundance was always higher than that of AOB and was related to the ammonia oxidation activity. The ratios of AOA/AOB in the brackish and marine waters were significantly higher than those found in freshwaters. Both AOA and AOB showed similar community compositions in brackish and marine waters, but only 31 and 35% similarity, respectively, between these waters and the urban inland freshwaters. Most of AOA-amoA sequences from freshwater were affiliated with sequences obtained from terrestrial environments and those collected from brackish and coastal areas were ubiquitous in marine, coastal, and terrestrial ecosystems. All AOB from freshwaters belonged to Nitrosomonas, and the AOB from brackish and marine waters mainly belonged to Nitrosospira.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1180
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Early online date27 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • ammonia-oxidizing archaea, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, eutrophic status, salinity, surface water
  • international


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