Current Microbiology

, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 598–613 | Cite as

Comparison of Prokaryotic Diversity in Cold, Oligotrophic Remote Lakes of Chilean Patagonia

  • Paulina Aguayo
  • Paulina González
  • Víctor Campos
  • Teresa L. Maugeri
  • Maria Papale
  • Concetta GugliandoloEmail author
  • Miguel A. Martinez


The prokaryotic abundance and diversity in three cold, oligotrophic Patagonian lakes (Témpanos, Las Torres and Mercedes) in the northern region Aysén (Chile) were compared in winter and summer using 16S rRNA fluorescence in situ hybridization and PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis technique. Prokaryotic abundances, numerically dominated by Bacteria, were quite similar in the three lakes, but higher in sediments than in waters, and they were also higher in summer than in winter. The relative contribution of Archaea was greater in waters than in sediments, and in winter rather than in summer. Despite the phylogenetic analysis indicated that most sequences were affiliated to a few taxonomic groups, mainly referred to Proteobacteria (consisting of Beta-, Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria) and Euryarchaeota (mainly related to uncultured methanogens), their relative abundances differed in each sample, resulting in different bacterial and archaeal assemblages. In winter, the abundance of the dominant bacterial phylotypes were mainly regulated by the increasing levels of total organic carbon in waters. Archaeal abundance and richness appeared mostly influenced by pH in winter and total nitrogen content in summer. The prokaryotic community composition at Témpanos lake, located most northerly and closer to a glacier, greatly differed in respect to the other two lakes. In this lake was detected the highest bacterial diversity, being Betaproteobacteria the most abundant group, whereas Alphaproteobacteria were distinctive of Mercedes. Archaeal community associated with sediments was mainly represent by members related to the order of Methanosarcinales at Mercedes and Las Torres lakes, and by Crenarchaeota at Témpanos lake. Our results indicate that the proximity to the glacier and the seasonality shape the composition of the prokaryotic communities in these remote lakes. These results may be used as baseline information to follow the microbial community responses to potential global changes and to anthropogenic impacts.


Total Organic Carbon Archaea Total Phosphorous Archaeal Community Methanosaeta 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by grants Fondecyt no 1100462 and Enlace VRID no 214.036.041-1.0.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest


Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Laboratory of Basic Microbiology and BioremedationUniversity of ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  2. 2.Research Centre for Extreme Environments and Extremophiles, Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology, Laboratory of Environmental MicrobiologyUniversity of ConcepciónConcepciónChile

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