Effect of salinization on microbial communities in lake freshwater

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Each year, it is estimated that several thousand tons of salts are discharged on the roads of Quebec and across Canada, some of which can be drained into neighboring waterways during the spring melting of snow. This salt will therefore end up in freshwater environments, such as rivers or lakes, which contain a community adapted to freshwater environments. The addition of salts to these aquatic environments will thus have a major impact on these communities.

We are using a mesocosm system (project led by the group of A. Derry), i.e. a system of waterproof bags filled with lake water (Laurentians) in which we added a salinity gradient, in order to study the impact of salt on prokaryotic  communities (Bacteria, Archaea) and eukaryotic communities. We are also carrying out microcosm experiments, a system of bottled cultures in which we added sediment from the same lake and water collected at the bottom of the lake, also including a salinity gradient, in order to study the effect of salt on sessile communities in sediments.

Project led by  Jean-Christophe Gagnon

Collaboration: Prof. Alison Derry (UQAM)