Using Species Invasion as a Model to Study Bacterial Disturbance Ecology

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Project Abstract: 
Invasive dreissenid mussels (IDMs) have had severe repercussions in the food web structure and ecology of freshwater systems globally. Most work on their impacts have focused on eukaryotic food webs, indicating steep reductions in phyto- and zooplankton community biomass, though their role in inducing outbreaks of toxic cyanobacterial blooms and bacterially-caused avian botulism highlights their potential impact through disturbing lake bacterial communities. In this set of experiments, I will use IDMs as a model of biological disturbance to study how bacterial communities from preadapted (IDM invaded) and non-preadapted (IDM-free) lakes change their phenotypic and taxonomic composition. The goals of this pilot study are to (1) characterize the rate of compositional change for lake bacterial communities when grown in a cattle tank and (2) compare the community composition shifts between preadapted (invaded lakes) and non-preadapted (IDM-free lakes) bacterial communities when exposed to direct IDM feeding.
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