77.3 Friday, Jan. 6 A comparison of microbial community structure and function in tidal freshwater wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Virginia GILLESPIE, JL*; FRANKLIN, RB; Virginia Commonwealth University; Virginia Commonwealth University email@example.com
Wetlands provide billions of dollars in ecosystem services to the United States each year. In an era of great concern for global climate change, a wetland’s ability to sequester carbon is one of its most important features. Understanding wetland function at the microscopic level can provide great insight for the preservation and restoration of this crucial ecosystem. Here, we examine and compare microbial community structure and function of tidal freshwater wetlands dominated by Peltandra virginica. Bacterial and archaeal community DNA was extracted from each wetland, and the 16S gene was amplified via PCR and analyzed with terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP). Community composition was analyzed within each wetland and between wetlands at increasing scales. In addition, extracellular enzyme activity was measured to assess community function. Microbial community composition and enzyme activity was correlated among sites, and also to measured environmental parameters at each site. We found bacterial and archaeal communities are strongly correlated to each other and environmental factors. For instance, archaea showed a strong correlation to above-ground biomass, temperature and redoximorphic characteristics. Further, bacterial and archaeal communities strongly correlate to the enzyme Phenol Oxidase, a key regulator of soil organic matter decomposition. This work shows that bacterial and archaeal community structure are related to important ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration.