Bacterial Diversity of Weathered Terrestrial Icelandic Volcanic Glasses
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The diversity of microbial communities inhabiting two terrestrial volcanic glasses of contrasting mineralogy and age was characterised. Basaltic glass from a <0.8 Ma hyaloclastite deposit (Valafell) harboured a more diverse Bacteria community than the younger rhyolitic glass from ∼150-300 AD (Dόmadalshraun lava flow). Actinobacteria dominated 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from both sites, however, Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria and Cyanobacteria were also numerically abundant in each. A significant proportion (15-34%) of the sequenced clones displayed <85% sequence similarities with current database sequences, thus suggesting the presence of novel microbial diversity in each volcanic glass. The majority of clone sequences shared the greatest similarity to uncultured organisms, mainly from soil environments, among these clones from Antarctic environments and Hawaiian and Andean volcanic deposits. Additionally, a large number of clones within the Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria were more similar to sequences from other lithic environments, included among these Icelandic clones from crystalline basalt and rhyolite, however, no similarities to sequences reported from marine volcanic glasses were observed. PhyloChip analysis detected substantially greater numbers of phylotypes at both sites than the corresponding clone libraries, but nonetheless also identified the basaltic glass community as the richer, containing approximately 29% unique phylotypes compared to rhyolitic glass.
KeywordsBacterial Community Clone Library Proteobacteria Actinobacteria Volcanic Glass
This work was made possible and supported by the Leverhulme Trust (project number F/00 269/N). We thank Andy Tindle for the provision of the microprobe facilities (Department of Earth Science, Open University, UK). The authors are also grateful to Steve Blake and Steve Self (Earth and Environmental Sciences, Open University, UK) for helpful discussions and advice, and to Steve Summers for performing the analysis of similarity (Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, Open University, UK).
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