Taxonomic and functional differences between microbial communities in Qinghai Lake and its input streams

Ze Ren, Fang Wang, Xiaodong Qu, James J. Elser, Yang Liu, Limin Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Understanding microbial communities in terms of taxon and function is essential to decipher the biogeochemical cycling in aquatic ecosystems. Lakes and their input streams are highly linked. However, the differences between microbial assemblages in streams and lakes are still unclear. In this study, we conducted an intensive field sampling of microbial communities from lake water and stream biofilms in the Qinghai Lake watershed, the largest lake in China. We determined bacterial communities using high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing and predicted functional profiles using PICRUSt to determine the taxonomic and functional differences between microbial communities in stream biofilms and lake water. The results showed that stream biofilms and lake water harbored distinct microbial communities. The microbial communities were different taxonomically and functionally between stream and lake. Moreover, streams biofilms had a microbial network with higher connectivity and modularity than lake water. Functional beta diversity was strongly correlated with taxonomic beta diversity in both the stream and lake microbial communities. Lake microbial assemblages displayed greater predicted metabolic potentials of many metabolism pathways while the microbial assemblages in stream biofilms were more abundant in xenobiotic biodegradation and metabolism and lipid metabolism. Furthermore, lake microbial assemblages had stronger predicted metabolic potentials in amino acid metabolism, carbon fixation, and photosynthesis while stream microbial assemblages were higher in carbohydrate metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, and nitrogen metabolism. This study adds to our knowledge of stream-lake linkages from the functional and taxonomic composition of microbial assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2319
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - Nov 22 2017


  • Co-occurrence
  • Functional
  • Microbial community
  • Stream-lake linkage
  • Taxonomic


Dive into the research topics of 'Taxonomic and functional differences between microbial communities in Qinghai Lake and its input streams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this