Author(s): Allen MA, Goh F, Burns BP, Neilan BA
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Abstract The bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic populations of nonlithifying mats with pustular and smooth morphology from Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay were characterised using small subunit rRNA gene analysis and microbial isolation. A highly diverse bacterial population was detected for each mat, with 16S rDNA clones related to Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Cyanobacteria, Gemmatimonas, Planctomycetes, Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia and candidate division TM6 present in each mat. Spirochaetes were detected in the smooth mat only, whereas candidate division OP11 was only detected in the pustular mat. Targeting populations with specific primers revealed additional cyanobacterial diversity. The archaeal population of the pustular mat was comprised purely of Halobacteriales, whereas the smooth mat contained 16S rDNA clones from the Halobacteriales, two groups of Euryarchaea with no close characterised matches, and the Thaumarchaea. Nematodes and fungi were present in each mat type, with diatom 18S rDNA clones only obtained from the smooth mat, and tardigrade and microalgae clones only retrieved from the pustular mat. Cultured isolates belonged to the Firmicutes, Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, and Halobacteriales. The mat populations were significantly more diverse than those previously reported for Hamelin Pool stromatolites, suggesting specific microbial populations may be associated with the nonlithifying and lithifying microbial communities of Hamelin Pool.
This article was published in Geobiology
and referenced in Journal of Physical Chemistry & Biophysics