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Badgley B.D.,University of Minnesota | Ferguson J.,University of Minnesota | Heuvel A.V.,University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh | Kleinheinz G.T.,University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh | And 5 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2011

High concentrations of Escherichia coli in mats of Cladophora in the Great Lakes have raised concern over the continued use of this bacterium as an indicator of microbial water quality. Determining the impacts of these environmentally abundant E. coli, however, necessitates a better understanding of their ecology. In this study, the population structure of 4285 Cladophora-borne E. coli isolates, obtained over multiple three day periods from Lake Michigan Cladophora mats in 2007-2009, was examined by using DNA fingerprint analyses. In contrast to previous studies that have been done using isolates from attached Cladophora obtained over large time scales and distances, the extensive sampling done here on free-floating mats over successive days at multiple sites provided a large dataset that allowed for a detailed examination of changes in population structure over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. While Cladophora-borne E. coli populations were highly diverse and consisted of many unique isolates, multiple clonal groups were also present and accounted for approximately 33% of all isolates examined. Patterns in population structure were also evident. At the broadest scales, E. coli populations showed some temporal clustering when examined by year, but did not show good spatial distinction among sites. E. coli population structure also showed significant patterns at much finer temporal scales. Populations were distinct on an individual mat basis at a given site, and on individual days within a single mat. Results of these studies indicate that Cladophora-borne E. coli populations consist of a mixture of stable, and possibly naturalized, strains that persist during the life of the mat, and more unique, transient strains that can change over rapid time scales. It is clear that further study of microbial processes at fine spatial and temporal scales is needed, and that caution must be taken when interpolating short term microbial dynamics from results obtained from weekly or monthly samples. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Byappanahalli M.N.,Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station | Yan T.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Hamilton M.J.,University of Minnesota | Ishii S.,University of Minnesota | And 4 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2012

While genotypically-distinct naturalized Escherichia coli strains have been shown to occur in riparian soils of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior watersheds, comparative analyses of E. coli populations in diverse soils across a range of geographic and climatic conditions have not been investigated. The main objectives of this study were to: (a) examine the population structure and genetic relatedness of E. coli isolates collected from different soil types on a tropical island (Hawaii), and (b) determine if E. coli populations from Hawaii and temperate soils (Indiana, Minnesota) shared similar genotypes that may be reflective of biome-related soil conditions. DNA fingerprint and multivariate statistical analyses were used to examine the population structure and genotypic characteristics of the E. coli isolates. About 33% (98 of 293) of the E. coli from different soil types and locations on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, had unique DNA fingerprints, indicating that these bacteria were relatively diverse; the Shannon diversity index for the population was 4.03. Nearly 60% (171 of 293) of the E. coli isolates from Hawaii clustered into two major groups and the rest, with two or more isolates, fell into one of 22 smaller groups, or individual lineages. Multivariate analysis of variance of 89, 21, and 106 unique E. coli DNA fingerprints for Hawaii, Indiana, and Minnesota soils, respectively, showed that isolates formed tight cohesive groups, clustering mainly by location. However, there were several instances of clonal isolates being shared between geographically different locations. Thus, while nearly identical E. coli strains were shared between disparate climatologically- and geographically-distinct locations, a vast majority of the soil E. coli strains were genotypically diverse and were likely derived from separate lineages. This supports the hypothesis that these bacteria are not unique and multiple genotypes can readily adapt to become part of the soil autochthonous microflora. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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