Seasonal Changes of Airborne Bacterial Communities Over Tokyo and Influence of Local Meteorology

Front Microbiol. 2019 Jul 16;10:1572. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01572. eCollection 2019.


In order to study airborne bacterial community dynamics over Tokyo, including fine-scale correlations between airborne microorganisms and meteorological conditions, and the influence of local versus long-range transport of microbes, air samples were collected on filters for periods ranging from 48 to 72 h. The diversity of the microbial community was assessed by next generation sequencing. Predicted source regions of airborne particles, from back trajectory analyses, changed abruptly from the Pacific Ocean to the Eurasian Continent in the beginning of October. However, the microbial community composition and the alpha and beta diversities were not affected by this shift in meteorological regime, suggesting that long-range transport from oceanic or continental sources was not the principal determinant controlling the local airborne microbiome. By contrast, we found a significant correlation between the local meteorology, especially relative humidity and wind speed, and both alpha diversity and beta diversity. Among four potential local source categories (soil, bay seawater, river, and pond), bay seawater and soil were identified as constant and predominant sources. Statistical analyses point toward humidity as the most influential meteorological factor, most likely because it is correlated with soil moisture and hence negatively correlated with the dispersal of particles from the land surface. In this study, we have demonstrated the benefits of fine-scale temporal analyses for understanding the sources and relationships with the meteorology of Tokyo's "aerobiome."

Keywords: DNA; air; airborne microbiome; bioaerosol; next generation sequencing; urban microbiome.

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.7772864