Bioaerosols are emerging as important yet poorly understood players in atmospheric processes. Microorganisms can impact atmospheric chemistry through metabolic reactions and can potentially influence physical processes by participating in ice nucleation and cloud droplet formation. Microbial roles in atmospheric processes are thought to be species-specific and potentially dependent on cell viability. Using a coastal pier monitoring site as a sampling platform, culture-dependent (i.e. agar plates) and culture-independent (i.e. DNA clone libraries from filters) approaches were combined with 18S rRNA and 16S rRNA gene targeting to obtain insight into the local atmospheric microbial composition. From 13 microbial isolates and 42 DNA library clones, a total of 55 sequences were obtained representing four independent sampling events. Sequence analysis revealed that in these coastal samples two fungal phyla, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, predominate among eukaryotes while Firmicutes and Proteobacteria predominate among bacteria. Furthermore, our culture-dependent study verifies the viability of microbes from all four phyla detected through our culture-independent study. Contrary to our expectations and despite oceanic air mass sources, common marine planktonic bacteria and phytoplankton were not typically found. The abundance of terrestrial and marine sediment-associated microorganisms suggests a potential importance for bioaerosols derived from beaches and/or coastal erosion processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Earth-Surface Processes