Ecology and microbial structures of archaeal/bacterial strings-of-pearls communities and archaeal relatives thriving in cold sulfidic springs

Authors

  • Christian Rudolph,

    1. Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie und Archaeenzentrum, Universität Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 31, D-93053 Regensburg Germany
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  • Christine Moissl,

    1. Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie und Archaeenzentrum, Universität Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 31, D-93053 Regensburg Germany
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  • Ruth Henneberger,

    1. Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie und Archaeenzentrum, Universität Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 31, D-93053 Regensburg Germany
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  • Robert Huber

    Corresponding author
    1. Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie und Archaeenzentrum, Universität Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 31, D-93053 Regensburg Germany
      *Corresponding author. Tel.: +49-941-943-3182; fax: +49-941-943-2421, E-mail address: robert.huber@biologie.uni-regensburg.de
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*Corresponding author. Tel.: +49-941-943-3182; fax: +49-941-943-2421, E-mail address: robert.huber@biologie.uni-regensburg.de

Abstract

Recently, a unique microbial community, growing in a whitish, macroscopically visible strings-of-pearls-like structure was discovered in the cold, sulfidic marsh water of the Sippenauer Moor near Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany. The pearls interior is predominated by microcolonies of the non-methanogenic SM1 euryarchaeon; the outer part of the pearls is mainly composed of Thiothrix. To screen sulfidic ecosystems for the distribution of such unique microbial communities, comparative microbial and geochemical analyses of cold, sulfidic springs of three geographically distinct locations in Bavaria, Germany, and Dalyan, Turkey, were performed. Here, we report on the discovery and study of another type of strings-of-pearls revealing a new microbial community structure. While the SM1 euryarchaeon is again the predominant archaeal constituent, the bacterial partner is the so-called IMB1 η-proteobacterium. Due to the predominance of the IMB1 η-proteobacterium, the strings-of-pearls reveal a fluffy and greyish macroscopical appearance. The phylogenetic survey revealed SM1 euryarchaeal relatives, designated as SM1 group, in all sites studied, indicating a widespread distribution of these archaea in terrestrial ecosystems.

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