Ecological quality in freshwater streams is reflected across all three
domains of life
Regular assessment of surface waters to monitor ecological quality has
become an increasing priority in recent years. Stream water quality
assessment conventionally relies on taxonomic expertise, which can be
costly and time-consuming. Next-generation sequencing approaches for
high-throughput analyses of diverse ecosystems are increasingly used for
environmental monitoring, and it has recently been shown that this
methodology has a large potential for stream water quality assessments.
In the present study we assess the potential of an amplicon sequencing
based approach that simultaneously targets the 16S (prokaryotes) and 18S
(eukaryotes) rRNA genes to capture a snapshot of the in the entire
ecosystem composition. Results based on the analysis of 50 selected
Danish streams showed that the domain-specific profiles can separate the
samples into their respective ecological quality categories.
Furthermore, it was possible to extract potential indicator organisms
from all three domains associated to a single ecological status
category, low and high quality ecosystems, as well as those with a high
correlation to ecological status across all categories.