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Environ Microbiol. 2005 Mar;7(3):337-47.

Primary succession of soil Crenarchaeota across a receding glacier foreland.

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School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.


The development of soil archaeal community structures in relation to primary succession in bulk and rhizosphere soil was examined across the forefield of the receding Rotmoosferner glacier in Austria. Using cloning and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) products of extracted 16S rRNA, archaeal community structure was compared over a chronosequence representing approximately 150 years of soil development and to reference sites outside the glacier forefield, representing soil exposed for approximately 9500 years. Archaeal community composition was found to be dominated by members of the non-thermophilic or Group 1 Crenarchaeota, where a dramatic yet highly structured successional sequence was observed. Succession over the 150 years sequence could be identified as occurring in three stages, each of which had a phylogenetically distinct 1.1b crenarchaea community with those organisms present in pioneering and intermediate stages belonging to a lineage distinct from those in developed soils. Climax communities also contained organisms belonging to three other major non-thermophilic crenarchaeal lineages. Comparison of archaeal communities in the rhizosphere indicated that plant species composition was not the major driver of specific crenarchaeal populations. These results indicate the potential role of soil crenarchaea in the development of soil substrates, as well as ecological diversity within and between major Group 1 lineages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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