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Transformation of Biofilm to Carbon Sinks after Prolonged Droughts Linked with Algal Biodiversity Change
journal contributionposted on 2023-11-21, 04:43 authored by C Li, L Miao, Tanveer AdyelTanveer Adyel, J Wu, J Hou
Global climate change significantly increased the duration of droughts in intermittent rivers, impacting benthic microbial-mediated biogeochemical processes. However, the impact of prolonged droughts on the carbon contribution of intermittent rivers remains poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the potential effects of varying drought gradients (ranging from 20 to 130 days) on benthic biofilms community structure (algae, bacteria, and fungi) and their carbon metabolism functions (ecosystem metabolism and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission fluxes) using mesocosm experiments. Our findings indicate that longer drought durations lead to reduced alpha diversity and community heterogeneity, tighter interdomain networks, and an increased role of stochastic processes in community assembly, with a discernible threshold at around 60 days. Concurrently, the biofilm transforms into a carbon sink following a drought period of 60 days, as evidenced by the transformation of CO2 emission fluxes from 633.25 ± 194.69 to -349.61 ± 277.79 mg m-2 h-1. Additionally, the partial least-squares path model revealed that the resilience of algal communities and network stability may drive biofilm's transformation into a carbon sink, primarily through the heightened resilience of autotrophic metabolism. This study underscores the significance of the carbon contribution from intermittent rivers, as the shift in carbon metabolism functions with increasing droughts could lead to skewed estimations of current riverine carbon fluxes.