Maria Gabriela Alfaro Espinoza


Gabriela Alfaro Espinoza_0





Molecular studies of nitrogen fixing bacteria interacting with mangroves

Mangrove ecosystems are found in tropical and subtropical coastal environments and cover an area of about 181,000 km2 world-wide. Mangrove plants are found in estuaries and along open coastlines and have been adapted to environmental conditions of high salinity, inundated and anaerobic sediments. They are very important to costal environments because with their roots reduce erosion and protect the coastal sediments from flooding, storms, hurricanes and tsunamis. They also host a variety of organisms like crabs, snails, birds, shrimp, fish, and birds. Bacteria play an important role in mangroves ecosystems by being responsible of nutrient transformations and controlling the chemical environment. In anoxic sediments, most of the nitrogen is been lost to denitrification. Despite this nutrient deficiency, mangroves appear as healthy forest system. This might be due to particular bacterial species, which might live in close association with mangroves and make nutrients such as organic nitrogen compounds readily available for the plant and therefore promote plant growth. My research project will give novel information about what bacterial species are living in close association with mangroves in estuary ecosystems. The study will focus on nitrogen-fixing bacteria that promote the growth of mangroves. Interesting isolates will be studied in terms of their in vitro Mangrove growth promoting features as well as in terms of their genetic accessibility to establish an easy-to-handle and in-depth-to-study model system for the mangrove-bacteria interaction.


Nitrogen-fixing bacterial colonies isolated from the roots of Rhizopora mangle and incubated in a soft agar test tube without nitrogen supply