Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 1335–1352 | Cite as

Abundance and observations of thermophilic microbial and viral communities in submarine and terrestrial hot fluid systems of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

  • Kaarle J. ParikkaEmail author
  • Stéphan Jacquet
  • Jonathan Colombet
  • Damien Guillaume
  • Marc Le RomancerEmail author
Original Paper


Studies investigating viral ecology have mainly been conducted in temperate marine and freshwater habitats. Fewer reports are available on the often less accessible “extreme environments” such as hot springs. This study investigated prokaryotic- and virus-like particles (VLP) associated to hot springs, themselves situated in cold environments of the Southern Hemisphere (i.e. in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands). This was performed by examining their abundance in hot springs and surrounding temperate seawater using both epifluorescence microscopy (EFM) and flow cytometry (FCM), which was applied for the first time to such ecosystems. On one hand, prokaryotic abundances of 4.0 × 105–2.2 × 106 cell mL−1 and 7.0 × 104–2.8 × 106 cell mL−1 were measured using EFM and FCM, respectively. The abundances of virus-like particles (VLP), on the other hand, ranged between 9.8 × 105 and 7.5 × 106 particles mL−1 when using EFM, and between 1.3 × 105 and 6.2 × 106 particles mL−1 when FCM was applied. A positive correlation was found between VLP and prokaryotic abundances, while the virus-to-prokaryote ratio was generally low and ranged between 0.1 and 6. In parallel, samples and culture supernatants were also visualised using transmission electron microscopy. For this, enrichment cultures were prepared using environmental samples. Both raw sample and enrichment culture—supernatants were analysed for the presence of VLPs. Observations revealed the presence of Caudovirales, membrane vesicles and possibly a new type of virion morphology, associated to members of the order Thermotogales, a thermophilic and anaerobic bacterium.


Abundance Thermophilic Virus-like particle Flow cytometry Epifluorescence microscopy Hot spring 



This study benefited of the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche doctoral-grant, (a CAREX-grant allowing a visit to the University of Bergen, Norway, and an IPEV (the French Polar Institute Paul- Emile Victor) fundings in the HOTVIR programme no 408. The sampling expedition was organised by the Institut Paul Emile Victor. The authors would like to thank the Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF), IPEV and its logistical staff for assistance in the field. The scientific diving protocol was initiated by Stéphan Jacquet. At field, diving was designed and coordinated by Patrick Le Chevalier and carried out by himself, Gilles Sarragoni and Christine David-Beaussire. Authors would also like to thank Dr. Mikal Heldal for his help in making electron microscopic observations of raw samples, Gérard Sinquin and Philippe Eliès of the Plateforme d’Imagerie et de Mesure en Microscopie (UBO) for their help in making electron microscopic observations of enrichment and pure culture supernatants, Valerie Chavagnac, Philippe Besson, Stéphanie Mounic and Carole Causserand (GET) for the chemical analyses of hydrothermal fluids, and Dr. Julien Farasin for his help in sample preliminary analyses. Authors are also grateful for Malcolm O’Toole for his valuable comments on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

300_2018_2288_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1492 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.lnstitut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Environnements Extrêmes UMR 6197Université de Bretagne OccidentalePlouzanéFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory of Microbiological ResearchQueen Astrid Military HospitalBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.INRA CARRTEL, Station d’Hydrobiologie LacustreThonon-Les-BainsFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire Microorganismes, Génome et EnvironnementClermont Université Blaise Pascal, UMR CNRS 6023AubièreFrance
  5. 5.Univ Lyon, UJM-Saint-Etienne, UCA, CNRS, IRD, LMV UMR 6524Saint-EtienneFrance

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