• Terrestrial hot springs;
  • Phylogenetic analysis;
  • Thermophiles;
  • Archaeal diversity;
  • Deeply branched archaea


The phylogeny of the latest recognized domain, Archaea, is still complicated and it is largely based on environmental sequences. A culture independent molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed high Archaea diversity in a terrestrial hot spring, village Varvara, Bulgaria. A total of 35 archaeal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to three of the classified five Archaea phyla were identified. Most of the sequences were affiliated with the phylum Crenarchaeota (23), grouped in four branches. The rest of the sequences showed highest similarity to the unidentified archaeal clones (9), Euryarchaeota (2), and “Korarchaeota ” (1). Eight (23%) of the sequenced 16S rDNAs didn't have known close relatives and represented new and diverse OTUs, four of them forming a new archaeal subgroup without close described sequences or culturable relatives. A sequence affiliated with “Korarchaeota ” showed low similarity (90%) to the closest neighbor and both sequences formed unique branch in this phylum. Consequently, the constructed archaeal libraries are characterized by (1) high proportion of OTUs representing uncultivated archaeal phylogroups, (2) the abundance of novel phylotype sequences, (3) the presence of high proportions of Crenarchaeota phylotypes unrelated to cultivated organisms and (4) the presence of a sequence only distantly related to “Korarchaeota ” phylum. (© 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)