Identifying protists along the Agder coastline using Illumina sequencing
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Environmental quality, sustainability and functioning of marine ecosystems are closely linked to species richness and diversity. Microalgae play key roles in coastal ecosystems contributing significantly to carbon flux through the microbial loop and are the main suppliers of photosynthetic products that higher trophic levels of the marine food web depend upon. The Norwegian coastal water is a mixture of freshwater run-off from rivers, outflow of brackish water from the Baltic Sea through the Kattegat, and North Sea coastal water. This produces a low-saline coastal water which mixes in the north with Atlantic water and this forms the Norwegian coastal current (NCC). In this study, we determined the different groups and species of protists present in spring, as well as comparing species composition in inner and outer coastal areas of Agder. We also evaluated the potential changes in protists community composition along two riverine influenced transects. Water samples were collected at four different depth layers, (sea surface, 5m, 15m and deep) in the beginning of April, DNA was extracted and Illumina sequences on the 18S rRNA gene were obtained. Our results also showed a large diversity of Dinoflagellata in every location, as well as Ochrophyta and Picozoa. In the more sheltered inner locations, there was signs for anoxic bottom water and low sequence number, while the more outer locations with colder water, more salinity and oxygen had a higher sequence count. The diversity measures showed a community with richness on each location with only a few exceptions. This methodology is useful tool for timeseries and could be a quick and cost-saving method for further research.