Cross-contamination risks in sediment-based resurrection studies of phytoplankton

Björn Andersson, Karin Rengefors, Olga Kourtchenko, Kerstin Johannesson, Olof Berglund, Helena L. Filipsson

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Resurrection studies can answer some fundamental questions in aquatic ecology and evolutionary biology. For phytoplankton resting stages, longevity of thousands to millions of years has recently been reported. However, contamination during sediment sampling could distort these estimates, and this risk has not been systematically evaluated. Here we used 4.5 μm diameter microspheres to quantify contamination while reviving the resting stages of seven abundant estuarine diatom and cyanobacterial taxa. We observed a sharp decline in resting stages abundance from 106 (g wet sediment)−1 at the surface to < 0.8 (g wet sediment)−1 at 12.5 cm depth. Added microspheres (~ 4.5 × 107 cm−2) were translocated even deeper down the sediment and could well explain the vertical distributions and abundances of revived cells. Without this control, we could have claimed to have revived seven multi-decades to centennial-old taxa. Our findings suggest that improved contamination controls are needed for sediment core sampling of rare cells, microfossils, or DNA molecules.

Sidor (från-till)376-384
TidskriftLimnology and Oceanography Letters
StatusPublished - 2022

Bibliografisk information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Limnology and Oceanography Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Ekologi
  • Multidisciplinär geovetenskap
  • Klimatforskning


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