School of Water Resources and Environment, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), 100083 Beijing, China; Institute of Groundwater and Earth Science, Jinan University, 510632 Guangzhou, China. Electronic address: [Email]
A salt-freshwater transition zone due to seawater intrusion to groundwater promotes changes in microbial diversity and community composition in a coastal aquifer. The main purpose of this study is to explore the effect of seawater intrusion on the groundwater quality in a salt-freshwater transition zone and identify the microbial fingerprints of seawater intrusion. The changes in microbial community diversity response to the seawater intrusion were characterized by comparing the community structures of the microbes in fresh groundwater, seawater, and salty groundwater from various monitoring wells at different depths using the high throughput 16S rDNA gene sequencing. Results show that seawater had the lowest taxon richness and evenness, and the irrigation water had the highest richness and evenness. Statistical analysis showed that DO%, ORP, and Cl- affected microbial distribution in the groundwater; while DO% was a main environmental factor influencing microbial community diversity. The analysis of microbial community structures indicates that the order Oceanospirillales and the family Alteromonadaceae could be used as indicators of seawater intrusion.