Marine organisms in intertidal zones are subjected to periodical fluctuations and wave activities. To understand how microbes in intertidal biofilms adapt to the stresses, the microbial metagenomes of biofilms from intertidal and subtidal zones were compared. The genes responsible for resistance to metal ion and oxidative stresses were enriched in both 6-day and 12-day intertidal biofilms, including genes associated with secondary metabolism, inorganic ion transport and metabolism, signal transduction and extracellular polymeric substance metabolism. In addition, these genes were more enriched in 12-day than 6-day intertidal biofilms. We hypothesize that a complex signaling network is used for stress tolerance and propose a model illustrating the relationships between these functions and environmental metal ion concentrations and oxidative stresses. These findings show that bacteria use diverse mechanisms to adapt to intertidal zones and indicate that the community structures of intertidal biofilms are modulated by metal ion and oxidative stresses.
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