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Microbial Ecology

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 290–306 | Cite as

Molecular Characterization of an Endolithic Microbial Community in Dolomite Rock in the Central Alps (Switzerland)

  • Thomas Horath
  • Reinhard BachofenEmail author
Environmental Microbiology

Abstract

Endolithic microorganisms colonize the pores in exposed dolomite rocks in the Piora Valley in the Swiss Alps. They appear as distinct grayish-green bands about 1–8 mm below the rock surface. Based on environmental small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences, a diverse community driven by photosynthesis has been found. Cyanobacteria (57 clones), especially the genus Leptolyngbya, form the functional basis for an endolithic community which contains a wide spectrum of so far not characterized species of chemotrophic Bacteria (64 clones) with mainly Actinobacteria, Alpha-Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Acidobacteria, as well as a cluster within the Chloroflexaceae. Furthermore, a cluster within the Crenarchaeotes (40 clones) has been detected. Although the eukaryotic diversity was outside the scope of the study, an amoeba (39 clones), and several green algae (51 clones) have been observed. We conclude that the bacterial diversity in this endolithic habitat, especially of chemotrophic, nonpigmented organisms, is considerable and that Archaea are present as well.

Keywords

Dolomite Extracellular Polymeric Substance Clone Library Actinobacteria Travertine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Steven M. Holland for providing his program Analytic Rarefaction as well as to John Marti for some revisions of the manuscript. And last but not least, we would like to thank the reviewers for their helpful comments and corrections.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant Biology/MicrobiologyUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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