Assembly and network stability of planktonic microorganisms under the influence of salinity gradient: an Arctic case study from the Lena River estuary to the Laptev Sea

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Liu, Q., L. Yan, H. Wang, G. Yang, J. Kan, 2023. Environmental Microbiology 11(2): e02115–22.

Permanent link/DOI (Open access)


The diversity and primary productivity in the Arctic ecosystem are rapidly changing due to global warming. Microorganisms play a vital role in biogeochemical cycling. However, the diversity of planktonic microorganism communities in the Laptev Sea, one of the most important marginal seas of the Western Arctic Ocean, have not been studied sufficiently in depth. The diversity and community structure of the planktonic microorganisms in the surface water were investigated at 20 stations on the Lena River flowing into the Laptev Sea. Multivariate statistical analyses demonstrated clear spatial patterns in the α diversity and community structure for microorganisms under different salinity levels. Co-occurrence networks of microbial communities revealed that spatial variation promoted differentiation of the characteristics and stability of microbial networks in the Laptev Sea. Contrary to expectations, abundant taxa were found to not have a large influence on the stability and resilience of microbial interactions in the region. On the contrary, less-abundant taxa were found to have far greater influence. The stability and resilience of the prokaryotic and microeukaryotic networks in the Lena River estuary and the continental shelf provided valuable insights into the impact of freshwater and land inflow disturbances on microbial assemblage. Overall, these results enhance our understanding of the composition of microbial communities and provide insights into how spatial changes of abundant versus rare species alter the nature and stability of microbial networks from the Lena River estuary to the Laptev Sea. In addition, this study explored microbial interactions and their ability to resist future disturbances.