Event Title

Comparison of Metagenomic Based Bacterial Diversity, Total Microbe Abundance, and Carbon Usage Patterns between Copper Mine Tailing Sites and Control Sites in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan

Location

D1496

Start Date

1-4-2016 10:55 AM

End Date

1-4-2016 11:10 AM

Description

The Keweenaw region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is known for extensive copper mining over the past two centuries. Large amounts of mine tailings and copper extracted stamp sands sit in piles all along the northwest ridgelines and southeast beaches of the Keweenaw Peninsula, respectively. Microorganism diversity, abundance and community structure represent parameters that can be effective indicators of disturbance. In this study, bacteria and other microbes were compared in 5 historically once active mine site tailing pile sediments from the abandoned Centennial, Seneca, Allouez, Ahmeek, and Wolverine copper mines and were compared to that of soil and sand counterparts near the two unmined control sites in the region. Sandstone not processed for copper and soil contaminated with copper extracted stamp sands from the southeast region of the peninsula were also compared. Aerobic heterotrophic plate counts for bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi, and related diversity indices all indicated lower numbers in general in mine sites vs controls. BiOLOG Eco-plates showed that bacterial community carbon usage at the various mine tailing and stamp sand sample sites utilized fewer overall carbons with a variable pattern of carbon types preferred by the overall community. Not surprisingly, the microbes examined here act as an indicator of physiological health of the mine tailing communities. This is supported by, in some cases, two orders of magnitude differences in carbon use. Metagenomics based bacterial identifications show large differences in community members at the genus and species level between contaminated and control sites. However, these differences were not seen at the phylum level. DNA based species richness and diversity followed abundance trends.

Comments

Dr. Timothy Gsell is a Professor of Biology and Environmental Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Apr 1st, 10:55 AM Apr 1st, 11:10 AM

Comparison of Metagenomic Based Bacterial Diversity, Total Microbe Abundance, and Carbon Usage Patterns between Copper Mine Tailing Sites and Control Sites in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan

D1496

The Keweenaw region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is known for extensive copper mining over the past two centuries. Large amounts of mine tailings and copper extracted stamp sands sit in piles all along the northwest ridgelines and southeast beaches of the Keweenaw Peninsula, respectively. Microorganism diversity, abundance and community structure represent parameters that can be effective indicators of disturbance. In this study, bacteria and other microbes were compared in 5 historically once active mine site tailing pile sediments from the abandoned Centennial, Seneca, Allouez, Ahmeek, and Wolverine copper mines and were compared to that of soil and sand counterparts near the two unmined control sites in the region. Sandstone not processed for copper and soil contaminated with copper extracted stamp sands from the southeast region of the peninsula were also compared. Aerobic heterotrophic plate counts for bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi, and related diversity indices all indicated lower numbers in general in mine sites vs controls. BiOLOG Eco-plates showed that bacterial community carbon usage at the various mine tailing and stamp sand sample sites utilized fewer overall carbons with a variable pattern of carbon types preferred by the overall community. Not surprisingly, the microbes examined here act as an indicator of physiological health of the mine tailing communities. This is supported by, in some cases, two orders of magnitude differences in carbon use. Metagenomics based bacterial identifications show large differences in community members at the genus and species level between contaminated and control sites. However, these differences were not seen at the phylum level. DNA based species richness and diversity followed abundance trends.