Preliminary assessment of microbial community structure of wind‐tidal flats in the Laguna Madre, Texas, USA

I. Shuo Huang, Lee J. Pinnell, Jeffrey W. Turner, Hussain Abdulla, Lauren Boyd, Eric W. Linton, Paul V. Zimba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Aside from two samples collected nearly 50 years ago, little is known about the microbial composition of wind tidal flats in the hypersaline Laguna Madre, Texas. These mats account for ~42% of the lagoon’s area. These microbial communities were sampled at four locations that historically had mats in the Laguna Madre, including Laguna Madre Field Station (LMFS), Nighthawk Bay (NH), and two locations in Kenedy Ranch (KRN and KRS). Amplicon sequencing of 16S genes determined the presence of 51 prokaryotic phyla dominated by Bacteroidota, Chloroflexi, Cyanobacteria, Desulfobacteria, Firmicutes, Halobacteria, and Proteobacteria. The microbial community structure of NH and KR is significantly different to LMFS, in which Bacteroidota and Proteobacteria were most abundant. Twenty-three cyanobacterial taxa were identified via genomic analysis, whereas 45 cyanobacterial taxa were identified using morphological analysis, containing large filamentous forms on the surface, and smaller, motile filamentous and coccoid forms in subsurface mat layers. Sample sites were dominated by species in Oscillatoriaceae (i.e., Lyngbya) and Coleofasciculaceae (i.e., Coleofasciculus). Most cyanobacterial sequences (~35%) could not be assigned to any established taxa at the family/genus level, given the limited knowledge of hypersaline cyanobacteria. A total of 73 cyanobacterial bioactive metabolites were identified using ultra performance liquid chromatography‐Orbitrap MS analysis from these commu nities. Laguna Madre seems unique compared to other sabkhas in terms of its microbiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number183
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Hypersaline lagoonal wind‐tidal microbial flats
  • Laguna Madre
  • MiSeq
  • Toxins
  • UPLC‐Orbitrap MS


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