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Microb Ecol. 2010 Nov;60(4):730-9. doi: 10.1007/s00248-010-9653-2. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Hypolithic microbial community of quartz pavement in the high-altitude tundra of central Tibet.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China.


The hypolithic microbial community associated with quartz pavement at a high-altitude tundra location in central Tibet is described. A small-scale ecological survey indicated that 36% of quartz rocks were colonized. Community profiling using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism revealed no significant difference in community structure among a number of colonized rocks. Real-time quantitative PCR and phylogenetic analysis of environmental phylotypes obtained from clone libraries were used to elucidate community structure across all domains. The hypolithon was dominated by cyanobacterial phylotypes (73%) with relatively low frequencies of other bacterial phylotypes, largely represented by the chloroflexi, actinobacteria, and bacteriodetes. Unidentified crenarchaeal phylotypes accounted for 4% of recoverable phylotypes, while algae, fungi, and mosses were indicated by a small fraction of recoverable phylotypes.

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