Biodiversité des eaux souterraines dans un gradient de temps de résidence et d'influence anthropique : approches métagénomique et géochimique couplées

Abstract : Hard-rock aquifers are heterogeneous geological structure very widespread in Britany that have the property to store groundwater. These aquifers are often made of a weathered zone and a fractured zone. The weathered zone is a rather thin layer close to the surface and is constituted of weathered rocks submerged in groundwater. In this zone, groundwater circulates rapidly from the upper parts of the watershed to the aquifer outlet, thus shows short groundwater residence time (< 20y) and is often polluted by nitrates. The fractured zone is located deeper and is thicker. It is composed of fresh rocks crossed by fractures in which groundwater exclusively flows with a very slow velocity, thus groundwater residence time in this zone is rather long (>40 y). In the fractured zone, groundwater is much more mineralized and often rich in iron, in Britany. The differences of flow velocities in the weathered and the fractured zones are responsible for contrasted chemical conditions in these two zones, but the influence of groundwater flow velocity on the microbial ecosystem in groundwater remains largely unexplored. This work shows hydrologic circulations influence the microbial community structuration in hard-rock aquifer groundwater at regional and local scales. Position of a groundwater along a hydrologic flowpath or a “hydrological loop” directly controls microbial community structure through the control of the successively available electron donors and acceptors. The analyzed microbial communities show a predominance of Betaproteobacteria. In recent groundwater (< 20y) thus particularly in the weathered zone, Betaproteobacteria are mainly Comamonadaceae and Oxalobacteraceae, which are generalists able to do denitrification. In old and isolated groundwater (> 40y) thus particularly in the fractured zone, Betaproteobacteria are mainly Gallionellaceae, which are microaerophilic iron-oxidizer. The predominance of Gallionellaceae in the fractured zone suggests a deep ecosystem based on iron oxidation. However, this process implies a minimal input of oxygen in the deeper part, for instance via mixing with recent oxygenated groundwater. Proportion of Gallionellaceae in the different analyzed groundwater shows a positive correlation with the degree of mixing between old and recent groundwater, up to a limit of 20% of recent groundwater. The temporal microbial community dynamics in a single aquifer, before and during the beginning of recharge, demonstrated in the weathered part very fluctuant chemical conditions and a shifting microbial community that remains always composed of numerous potential denitrifiers. In the fractured part, microbial community is dominated by Gallionellaceae and remains rather stable, despite the punctual but substantial changing of the chemical conditions and degree of mixing (up to 60% of recent groundwater) at the beginning of the recharge. Gallionellaceae seem thus able to resist to important and punctual chemical conditions changings. Groundwater in the deeper part of aquifers, even isolated, remains relatively connected to surface, likely allowing the deep microbial ecosystem to maintain.
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Sarah Ben Maamar. Biodiversité des eaux souterraines dans un gradient de temps de résidence et d'influence anthropique : approches métagénomique et géochimique couplées. Sciences de la Terre. Université Rennes 1, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016REN1S108⟩. ⟨tel-02145441⟩

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