Patterns of Bacterial and Archaeal Communities in Sediments in Response to Dam Construction and Sewage Discharge in Lhasa River

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2019 Aug 30;178:195-201. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.03.107. Epub 2019 Apr 19.


The increased anthropogenic activities in the Tibetan Plateau may threaten the river environmental safety. However, limited information is available on the Lhasa River in the Tibetan Plateau, which is known as the remaining pure land on Earth. Here, we firstly investigated the distribution patterns of bacterial and archaeal communities in sediments in response to dam construction and sewage discharge along the reaches of the Lhasa River. The total organic carbon, total Nitrogen (N), nitrate and ammonium contents and the relative abundance of bacteria and archaea significantly increased in reservoir sites in comparison with sites below dam, and they also gradually increased from upstream to downstream in sewage discharge sites. By contrast, the diversity of sediment bacteria and archaea in reservoir sites were significantly less than that in sites below dam and sewage discharge sites at Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) level. The dominant species were water-bloom cyanobacteria in the reservoir area of Zhikong Dam and Proteobacteria in the sewage discharge sites, which were significantly correlated with the nutrient concentration. The abundance of nitrogen functional genes significantly also increased in reservoir sites and the downstream of sewage discharge areas. These results suggested that dam construction and sewage discharge caused the increase of sediment bacterial communities and nutrient levels and potentially induced eutrophication in the Lhasa River.

Keywords: Anthropogenic activities; High-throughput sequencing; Lhasa river; Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR); Sediment; Sedimentary bacterial communities.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonium Compounds / analysis
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Archaea / isolation & purification*
  • Eutrophication
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Proteobacteria / genetics
  • Proteobacteria / isolation & purification*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rivers / chemistry*
  • Rivers / microbiology*
  • Sewage / microbiology*
  • Tibet
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis


  • Ammonium Compounds
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Sewage
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Nitrogen