Microbial Ecology

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 297–311 | Cite as

Molecular Ecology Techniques Reveal Both Spatial and Temporal Variations in the Diversity of Archaeal Communities within the Athalassohaline Environment of Rambla Salada, Spain

  • Nahid Oueriaghli
  • Victoria BéjarEmail author
  • Emilia Quesada
  • Fernando Martínez-Checa
Environmental Microbiology


We have studied the distribution of the archaeal communities in Rambla Salada (Murcia, Spain) over three different seasons and observed the influence upon them of the environmental variables, salinity, pH, oxygen and temperature. Samples were collected from three representative sites in order to gain an insight into the archaeal population of the rambla as a whole. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis patterns and diversity indexes indicate that the diversity of the archaeal community in Rambla Salada changed mainly according to the season. We found no significant differences between the types of sample studied: watery sediments and soils. The upwelling zone showed most diversity in its archaeal community. The overall archaeal community was composed mainly of Halobacteriales and Thermoplasmatales, accounting for 72.6 and 12.1 % of the total, respectively. Haloarcula was the most abundant genus, being present at all three sites during all three seasons. Some few Crenarchaeota were always found, mainly at low-salinity levels. Ordination canonical correspondence analysis demonstrated that salinity affected the structure of the community significantly, whilst pH, oxygen and temperature did so to a lesser extent. Most Halobacteriales correlated positively with salinity and pH, whilst Thermoplasmatales correlated negatively with both salinity and pH and positively with temperature and oxygen. The archaeal community with the highest diversity was sampled during June 2006, the season with the highest salt concentration. Catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization showed that the percentage of archaea in Rambla Salada compared to the total number of microorganisms (as measured by DAPI) ranged from 11.1 to 16.7 %. Our research group had isolated the most abundant taxon, Haloarcula, previously in Rambla Salada using classical culture techniques, but on this occasion, using culture-independent methods, we were also able to identify some phylotypes, Halorubrum, Methanolobus, Natronomonas, Halomicrobium, Halobacterium, Halosimplex, uncultured Thermoplasmatales and uncultured Crenarchaeota, that had remained undetected during our earlier studies in this habitat.


Archaea Archaeal Community Halobacterium Upwelling Zone Cumulative Percentage Variance 
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 research was supported by grants from the Dirreción General de Investigación Científica y Técnica (CGL 2008–02399; BIO2011-12879E) and from the Plan Andaluz de Invesigación (CVI06226), Spain. The authors are very grateful to Kadiya Calderón (UGR) for her valuable assistance with the statistical analyses. We thank the “Centro de Instrumentación Científica” of the University of Granada for their microscopy (CLSM) service. We also thank David Porcel for his suggestions about the instructions concerning the microscopy (CLSM). Special thanks go to our colleague Dr. J. Trout for revising and editing our English text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nahid Oueriaghli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Victoria Béjar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Emilia Quesada
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fernando Martínez-Checa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Microbial Exopolysaccharide Research Group, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Institute of BiotechnologyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain

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