Rush Lake (WI, USA), the largest prairie-pothole lake east of the Mississippi River, has been contaminated with lead pollution as a result of over 140 years of waterfowl hunting. We examined: (1) the extent of lead pollution in Rush Lake sediments and (2) whether lead pollution in Rush Lake is affecting the abundance and community structure of indigenous sediment bacteria. Sediment lead concentrations did not exceed 59 mg Pb kg-1 dry sediment. No relationship was observed between sediment lead concentration and the abundance of aerobic (P = 0.498) or anaerobic (P = 0.416) heterotrophic bacteria. Similarly, lead did not appear to affect bacterial community structure when considering both culturable and nonculturable community members. In contrast, the culturable fraction of sediment bacteria in samples containing 59 mg Pb kg-1 exhibited a unique community structure. While factors other than lead content likely play roles in determining bacterial community structure in the sediments of Rush Lake, these data suggest that the culturable fraction of sediment bacterial communities is affected by elevated lead levels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis