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PLoS One. 2013 May 7;8(5):e62901. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062901. Print 2013.

Control of temperature on microbial community structure in hot springs of the Tibetan Plateau.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology & School of the Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, China.

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau in Northwest China hosts a number of hot springs that represent a biodiversity hotspot for thermophiles, yet their diversity and relationship to environmental conditions are poorly explored in these habitats. In this study we investigated microbial diversity and community composition in 13 Tibetan hot springs with a wide range of temperatures (22.1-75°C) and other geochemical conditions by using the 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing approach. Bacteria (10(8)-10(11) copy/g; 42 bacterial phyla) in Tibetan hot springs were more abundant and far more diverse than Archaea (10(7)-10(10) copy/g; 5 archaeal phyla). The dominant bacterial phyla systematically varied with temperature. Moderate temperatures (75-66°C) favored Aquificae, GAL35, and novel Bacteria, whereas low temperatures (60-22.1°C) selected for Deinococcus-Thermus, Cyanobacteria, and Chloroflexi. The relative abundance of Aquificae was correlated positively with temperature, but the abundances of Deinococcus-Thermus, Cyanobacteria, and Chloroflexi were negatively correlated with temperature. Cyanobacteria and Chloroflexi were abundant in Tibetan hot springs and their abundances were positively correlated at low temperatures (55-43°C) but negatively correlated at moderate temperatures (75-55°C). These correlation patterns suggest a complex physiological relationship between these two phyla. Most archaeal sequences were related to Crenarchaeota with only a few related to Euryarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota. Despite the fact that microbial composition in Tibetan hot springs was strongly shaped by temperature, microbial diversity (richness, evenness and Shannon diversity) was not significantly correlated with temperature change. The results of this study expand our current understanding of microbial ecology in Tibetan hot springs and provide a basis for a global comparison.

PMID:
23667538
PMCID:
PMC3647046
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0062901
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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