Microbial Ecology

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 326–338 | Cite as

Prokaryotic Community Diversity Along an Increasing Salt Gradient in a Soda Ash Concentration Pond

  • Addis Simachew
  • Anders Lanzén
  • Amare Gessesse
  • Lise Øvreås
Microbiology of Aquatic Systems


The effect of salinity on prokaryotic community diversity in Abijata-Shalla Soda Ash Concentration Pond system was investigated by using high-throughput 16S rRNA gene 454 pyrosequencing. Surface water and brine samples from five sites spanning a salinity range of 3.4 % (Lake Abijata) to 32 % (SP230F, crystallizer pond) were analyzed. Overall, 33 prokaryotic phyla were detected, and the dominant prokaryotic phyla accounted for more than 95 % of the reads consisting of Planctomycetes, Bacteroidetes, candidate division TM7, Deinococcus-Thermus, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Euryarchaeota. Diversity indices indicated that operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness decreases drastically with increasing salinity in the pond system. A total of 471 OTUs were found at 3.4 % salinity whereas 49 OTUs were detected in pond SP211 (25 % salinity), and only 19 OTUs in the crystallization pond at 32 % salinity (SP230F). Along the salinity gradient, archaeal community gradually replaced bacterial community. Thus, archaeal community accounted for 0.4 % in Lake Abijata while 99.0 % in pond SP230F. This study demonstrates that salinity appears to be the key environmental parameter in structuring the prokaryotic communities of haloalkaline environments. Further, it confirmed that the prokaryotic diversity in Lake Abijata is high and it harbors taxa with low or no phylogenetic similarities to existing prokaryotic taxa and thus represents novel microorganisms.


Abijata Prokaryotes Soda ash Salinity 



This work was supported by the Norwegian Programme for Development, Research and Education (NUFU) project no. 10069/2007 and the School of Graduate Studies, Addis Ababa University.

Conflict of interest

The authors are responsible for all of the contents of the manuscript and it has not been or will not be submitted elsewhere.

Supplementary material

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Fig. S1 (DOCX 71 kb)
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Fig. S2 (DOCX 46 kb)
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Table S1 (DOCX 17 kb)
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Table S2 (DOCX 46 kb)
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Table S3 (DOCX 27 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Addis Simachew
    • 1
  • Anders Lanzén
    • 2
  • Amare Gessesse
    • 1
  • Lise Øvreås
    • 3
  1. 1.Addis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Natural Resources, NEIKER-TecnaliaDerioSpain
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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