, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 557–565 | Cite as

Occurrence of Halococcus spp. in the nostrils salt glands of the seabird Calonectris diomedea

  • Jocelyn Brito-EcheverríaEmail author
  • Arantxa López-López
  • Pablo Yarza
  • Josefa Antón
  • Ramon Rosselló-Móra


The nostrils of the seabird Calonectris diomedea are endowed with a salt-excreting gland that could produce a suitable environment for the colonization of extreme halophilic prokaryotes. We have studied in this organ the presence of extreme halophiles by means of culturing techniques. We could easily cultivate members of haloarchaea, and all cultures studied were identified as members of one of the two species Halococcus morrhuae and Hcc. dombrowskii. In order to reveal the diversity of these colonizers, we undertook a taxonomic study. Altogether, the results indicated that members of the genus Halococcus may constitute a part of the natural epizootic microbiota of C. diomedea, and that they exhibit such an important degree of taxonomic variability that appeals for a pragmatic species definition. This seabird nests in the west Mediterranean coasts, but its migratory habits, reaching locations as distant from the Mediterranean as the South Atlantic, may help in the dispersal mechanisms of haloarchaea through the Earth’s surface.


Seabird nostril Extreme halophiles Halococcus spp. Species definition 



The authors want to acknowledge the help in the sampling strategy given by the Population Ecology Group of the IMEDEA and especially Daniel Oro for his collaboration. The project has been funded by the projects CLG2006-12714-C02-01 and CLG2006-12714-C02-02 of the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jocelyn Brito-Echeverría
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arantxa López-López
    • 1
  • Pablo Yarza
    • 1
  • Josefa Antón
    • 2
  • Ramon Rosselló-Móra
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Microbiology GroupInstitut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats (CSIC-UIB)EsporlesSpain
  2. 2.División de Microbiología, Departamento de Fisiología, Genética y Microbiología and Instituto Multidisciplinar de Estudios del Medio, Ramon MargalefUniversidad de AlicanteAlicanteSpain

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