Impact of sample collection on prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity of niche environments of the oil-sand mining impacted Athabasca River Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Microbial communities are an important aspect of overall riverine ecology; however, appreciation of the effects of anthropogenic activities on unique riverine microbial niches, and how the collection of these samples affects the observed diversity and community profile is lacking. We analyzed prokaryotic and eukaryotic communities from surface water, biofilms, and suspended load niches along a gradient of oil sands-related contamination in the Athabasca River (Alberta, Canada), with suspended load or particle-associated communities collected either via Kenney Sampler or centrifugation manifold. At the phylum level, different niche communities were highly similar to each other and across locations. However, there were significant differences in the abundance of specific genera among the different niches and across sampling locations. A generalized linear model revealed that use of the Kenney Sampler resulted in more diverse bacterial and eukaryotic suspended load community than centrifugal collection, though suspended load communities collected by any means remained stably diverse across locations. Although there was an influence of water quality parameters on community composition, all sampled sites support diverse bacterial and eukaryotic communities regardless of the degree of contamination, highlighting the need to look beyond ecological diversity as a means of assessing ecological perturbations, and consider collecting samples from multiple niche environments.


  • Bergsveinson, Jordyn
  • Lawrence, John R
  • Schebel, Alixandra
  • Wasserscheid, Jessica
  • Roy, Julie
  • Conly, F Malcolm
  • Sanschagrin, Sylvie
  • Korber, Darren R
  • Tremblay, Julien
  • Greer, Charles W
  • Droppo, Ian

publication date

  • November 2021