Table_1_Benthic Prokaryotic Community Response to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Chronic Exposure: Importance of Emission Sources in Mediterranean Ports.DOCX
The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) produced by multiple emission sources on prokaryotic communities in sediments chronically affected by anthropogenic pressures. In this context, surface sediments were investigated in three Mediterranean touristic ports over three sampling periods and in different port sectors. The levels of 16 priority PAHs varied over three orders of magnitude (25–49,000 ng g–1) covering the range of concentrations previously reported for Mediterranean harbors. Pyrogenic processes were found to be the dominant emission source of PAHs, with considerable differences among ports. The prokaryotic communities were identified by using the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, targeting the 16S rRNA gene for Bacteria and Archaea as well as the dsrAB gene for sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB). The structure of the three benthic prokaryotic communities varied consistently among the ports. The structure of Bacteria and Archaea exhibited strong spatiotemporal variations that did not allow us to specifically link the observed differences in community structures with PAH sources. On the contrary, our study provided, for the first time, evidence that the PAH emission sources play a role in structuring benthic communities of SRB. Our findings indicate that the SRB community can be used as a valuable candidate biotic descriptor for bioremediation monitoring in heavily impacted port sediments.