Microbial Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 238–248

Archaeal nucleic acids in picoplankton from great lakes on three continents


DOI: 10.1007/s00248-003-1003-1

Cite this article as:
Keough, B.P., Schmidt, T.M. & Hicks, R.E. Microb Ecol (2003) 46: 238. doi:10.1007/s00248-003-1003-1


Phylogenetic analysis of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA genes revealed the presence of archaea in picoplankton collected from the Laurentian Great Lakes in North America, Africa’s Lake Victoria, and Lakes Ladoga and Onega in northeastern Eurasia. From 1 to 10% of the rRNA extracted from size-fractionated picoplankton (>0.2 µm but <1.2 µm) collected in the epilimnion and hypolimnion of these lakes was specific to the Archaea, whereas the majority of rRNA was derived from Bacteria. Analysis of the 16S rRNA genes cloned from these samples indicated they were closely related to crenarchaeal sequences that have been widely characterized from marine environments. The presence of nearly identical 16S rDNA clones in several of these geographically disparate lakes suggests a cosmopolitan distribution of specific subgroups of these Archaea in freshwater environments. Despite their abundance in the water column of freshwater lakes, we have no representatives of these crenarchaea in pure culture, and so their physiological characteristics and ecological role remain unknown.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Minnesota - DuluthDuluthUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology and Molecular GeneticsMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing