Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2973
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2973
19 Feb 2024
 | 19 Feb 2024

Geochemical and microbial factors driving crustacean assemblages in adjacent groundwater bodies within the same aquifer

Tiziana Di Lorenzo, Stefano Amalfitano, Diana Maria Paola Galassi, Marco Melita, Annamaria Zoppini, Daniele Parrone, Stefano Ghergo, David Rossi, Agostina Tabilio Di Camillo, and Elisabetta Preziosi

Abstract. Aquifers harbor unique and highly adapted species, contributing to critical ecological processes and services. Understanding the key factors driving invertebrate assemblages in aquifers is a challenging task that, traditionally, has primarily been achieved in karst aquifers. This study aimed to uncover the factors influencing the composition and functionality of groundwater crustaceans in a volcanic aquifer of central Italy. We adopted a multidisciplinary approach, combining hydrogeology, geology, microbiology, and ecology, and found that the aquifer consisted of three adjacent groundwater bodies (GWBs) with different geochemistry (i.e., sulfate-depleted, K-rich and earth-alkaline) and microbial characteristics that remained consistent over the study period. We also unveiled significant differences in both the taxonomic and functional composition of groundwater crustaceans across the three GWBs and these patterns were consistent over time. Notably, the sulfate-depleted GWB lacked groundwater-obligate species, burrowers, stenothermal and moderately stenothermal species, while the K-rich and earth-alkaline GWBs had different species with similar functions related to locomotion, diet, and feeding habits. Stenothermal and moderately stenothermal crustacean species were only found in the K-rich GWB, which lacked epigean species. Major ions (SO4, Ca, NO3, and K), trace elements (B, Al, V, Se, and Ba), and microbial factors related to microbial cells with low nucleic acid (LNA cells) and carbohydrate catabolic profiles were the main descriptors of groundwater-obligate species abundances. Our findings revealed a significant correlation between the abundances of groundwater-obligate crustaceans and LNA cells, thus suggesting a selective feeding of groundwater invertebrate species on the aquatic microbial community. Our research emphasizes the need to consider diverse hydrogeological contexts within individual aquifers. Potential avenues for future research should further consider food web dynamics in groundwater communities and their impact on carbon and nutrient cycling.

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Tiziana Di Lorenzo, Stefano Amalfitano, Diana Maria Paola Galassi, Marco Melita, Annamaria Zoppini, Daniele Parrone, Stefano Ghergo, David Rossi, Agostina Tabilio Di Camillo, and Elisabetta Preziosi

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2973', Giacomo Medici, 03 May 2024
    • AC4: 'Reply on CC1', Tiziana Di Lorenzo, 26 Jun 2024
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2973', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 May 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC1', Tiziana Di Lorenzo, 26 Jun 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2973', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 May 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Tiziana Di Lorenzo, 26 Jun 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2973', Anonymous Referee #3, 16 May 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC3', Tiziana Di Lorenzo, 26 Jun 2024
Tiziana Di Lorenzo, Stefano Amalfitano, Diana Maria Paola Galassi, Marco Melita, Annamaria Zoppini, Daniele Parrone, Stefano Ghergo, David Rossi, Agostina Tabilio Di Camillo, and Elisabetta Preziosi
Tiziana Di Lorenzo, Stefano Amalfitano, Diana Maria Paola Galassi, Marco Melita, Annamaria Zoppini, Daniele Parrone, Stefano Ghergo, David Rossi, Agostina Tabilio Di Camillo, and Elisabetta Preziosi

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Short summary
This study examines the effects of geochemistry and microbial communities on crustacean assemblages in a volcanic aquifer. It uncovers that major ions, trace elements, and microbial traits dictate the composition and functionality of crustacean assemblages, revealing variations across adjacent groundwater bodies. The study highlights the importance of approaches that integrate geochemical, microbial, and biological indicators for understanding the dynamics of groundwater ecosystems.