Extremophiles

, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp 305–313 | Cite as

A microbiological survey of Montserrat Island hydrothermal biotopes

  • Tony Atkinson
  • Steven Cairns
  • D. A. Cowan
  • Michael J. Danson
  • David W. Hough
  • D. Barrie Johnson
  • Paul R. Norris
  • Neil Raven
  • Clare Robinson
  • Rob Robson
  • Richard J. Sharp
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

In March 1996, a survey of hydrothermal sites on the island of Montserrat was carried out. Six sites (Galway's Soufrière, Gages Upper and Lower Soufrières, Hot Water Pond, Hot River, and Tar River Soufrière) were mapped and sampled for chemical, ATP, and microbial analyses. The hydrothermal Soufrière sites on the slopes of the active Chances Peak volcano exhibited temperatures up to almost 100°C and were generally either mildly acidic at pH 5–7 or strongly acidic at pH 1.5–3, but with some hot streams and pools of low redox potential at pH 7–8. Hot Water Pond sites, comprising a series of heated pools near the western shoreline of the island, were neutral and saline, consistent with subsurface heating of entrained seawater. Biological activity shown by ATP analyses was greatest in near-neutral pH samples and generally decreased as acidity increased. A variety of heterotrophic and chemolithotrophic thermophilic organisms were isolated or observed in enrichment cultures. Most of the bacteria that were obtained in pure culture were familiar acidophiles and neutrophiles, but novel, iron-oxidizing species of Sulfobacillus were revealed. These species included the first mesophilic iron-oxidizing Sulfobacillus strains to be isolated and a strain with a higher maximum growth temperature (65°C) than the previously described moderately thermophilic Sulfobacillus species.

Key words Montserrat Hydrothermal Thermophiles Acidophiles Archaea 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Atkinson
    • 1
  • Steven Cairns
    • 2
  • D. A. Cowan
    • 3
  • Michael J. Danson
    • 4
  • David W. Hough
    • 4
  • D. Barrie Johnson
    • 5
  • Paul R. Norris
    • 6
  • Neil Raven
    • 7
  • Clare Robinson
    • 8
  • Rob Robson
    • 2
  • Richard J. Sharp
    • 7
  1. 1.Chimaeron Ltd., 8 Centre One, Lysander Way, Salisbury, UKGB
  2. 2.School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UKGB
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College London, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, UK Tel. +44-20-7679-2246; Fax +44-20-7679-7193 e-mail: don.cowan@ucl.ac.ukGB
  4. 4.Centre for Extremophile Research, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, UKGB
  5. 5.School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Gwynedd, UKGB
  6. 6.Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, UKGB
  7. 7.Centre for Applied Microbiological Research, Salisbury, UKGB
  8. 8.John Innes Centre, Norwich, UKGB

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