, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 199–212 | Cite as

Bacterial and archaeal populations at two shallow hydrothermal vents off Panarea Island (Eolian Islands, Italy)

  • Teresa Luciana Maugeri
  • Valeria Lentini
  • Concetta Gugliandolo
  • Francesco Italiano
  • Sylvie Cousin
  • Erko Stackebrandt
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to investigate the microbial community thriving at two shallow hydrothermal vents off Panarea Island (Italy). Physico-chemical characteristics of thermal waters were examined in order to establish the effect of the vents on biodiversity of both Bacteria and Archaea. Water and adjacent sediment samples were collected at different times from two vents, characterised by different depth and temperature, and analysed to evaluate total microbial abundances, sulphur-oxidising and thermophilic aerobic bacteria. Total microbial abundances were on average of the order of 105 cells ml−1, expressed as picoplanktonic size fraction. Picophytoplanktonic cells accounted for 0.77–3.83% of the total picoplanktonic cells. The contribution of bacterial and archaeal taxa to prokaryotic community diversity was investigated by PCR–DGGE fingerprinting method. The number of bands derived from bacterial DNA was highest in the DGGE profiles of water sample from the warmest and deepest site (site 2). In contrast, archaeal richness was highest in the water of the coldest and shallowest site (site 1). Sulphur-oxidising bacteria were detected by both culture-dependent and -independent methods. The primary production at the shallow hydrothermal system of Panarea is supported by a complex microbial community composed by phototrophs and chemolithotrophs.


Archaea Bacteria Prokaryote community PCR–DGGE Shallow hydrothermal vents 



This study was partially supported by research grants (FIRB 2001) from Ministero Istruzione, Università e Ricerca (MIUR), Rome, Italy, and partially by research grants (2002 financing ORME024370) from the University of Messina, Italy. We would like to thank Evelyne Brambilla, DSMZ (Braunschweig, Germany) for her invaluable technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Luciana Maugeri
    • 1
  • Valeria Lentini
    • 1
  • Concetta Gugliandolo
    • 1
  • Francesco Italiano
    • 2
  • Sylvie Cousin
    • 3
  • Erko Stackebrandt
    • 3
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale ed Ecologia MarinaUniversità di MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e VulcanologiaPalermoItaly
  3. 3.Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbHBraunschweigGermany

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