Microbial Ecology

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 69–79 | Cite as

Bacterial Diversity of Terrestrial Crystalline Volcanic Rocks, Iceland

  • Laura C. KellyEmail author
  • Charles S. Cockell
  • Aude Herrera-Belaroussi
  • Yvette Piceno
  • Gary Andersen
  • Todd DeSantis
  • Eoin Brodie
  • Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson
  • Viggó Marteinsson
  • Franck Poly
  • Xavier LeRoux
Environmental Microbiology


Bacteria inhabiting crystalline rocks from two terrestrial Icelandic volcanic lava flows of similar age and from the same geographical region, but differing in porosity and mineralogy, were characterised. Microarray (PhyloChip) and clone library analysis of 16S rRNA genes revealed the presence of a diverse assemblage of bacteria in each lava flow. Both methods suggested a more diverse community at the Dómadalshraun site (rhyolitic/andesitic lava flow) than that present at the Hnausahraun site (basaltic lava flow). Proteobacteria dominated the clone library at the Dómadalshraun site, while Acidobacteria was the most abundant phylum in the Hnausahraun site. Although analysis of similarities of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles suggested a strong correlation of community structure with mineralogy, rock porosity may also play an important role in shaping the bacterial community in crystalline volcanic rocks. Clone sequences were most similar to uncultured microorganisms, mainly from soil environments. Of these, Antarctic soils and temperate rhizosphere soils were prominent, as were clones retrieved from Hawaiian and Andean volcanic soils. The novel diversity of these Icelandic microbial communities was supported by the finding that up to 46% of clones displayed <85% sequence identities to sequences currently deposited in the RDP database.


Microbial Community Bacterial Community Volcanic Rock Lava Flow Clone Library 
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.



This work was made possible and supported by the Leverhulme Trust (project number F/00 269/N). We thank John Watson (Department of Earth Science, Open University, UK) for the XRF analyses and Stephen Summers (Geomicrobiology Group, Open University) for statistical advice. The authors are also grateful to Steve Blake and Steve Self (Earth and Environmental Sciences, Open University, UK) for helpful discussions and advice, and Mark Blaxter (School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK) for the sequencing facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura C. Kelly
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charles S. Cockell
    • 1
  • Aude Herrera-Belaroussi
    • 1
  • Yvette Piceno
    • 2
  • Gary Andersen
    • 2
  • Todd DeSantis
    • 2
  • Eoin Brodie
    • 2
  • Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson
    • 3
  • Viggó Marteinsson
    • 4
  • Franck Poly
    • 5
  • Xavier LeRoux
    • 5
  1. 1.Geomicrobiology Research Group, Planetary and Space Sciences Research InstituteOpen UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  2. 2.Ecology Department, Earth Sciences DivisionLawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Hydrology Division, National Energy AuthorityReykjavikIceland
  4. 4.Matís ohf./Icelandic Food and Biotech R&DReykjavikIceland
  5. 5.INRA, CNRS, Université de Lyon, Université de Lyon 1, UMR 5557 Ecologie MicrobienneVilleurbanneFrance

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