Heterotrophic bacterial diversity in aquatic microbial mat communities from Antarctica
Heterotrophic bacteria isolated from five aquatic
microbial mat samples from different locations in continental Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula were compared to assess their biodiversity. A total of 2,225 isolates obtained on different media and at different temperatures were included. After an initial grouping by whole-genome fingerprinting, partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis was used for further identification. These results were compared with previously published data obtained with the same methodology from terrestrial and aquatic microbial mat samples from two additional Antarctic regions. The phylotypes recovered in all these samples belonged to five
major phyla, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria,
Firmicutes and Deinococcus-Thermus, and included several
potentially new taxa. Ordination analyses were performed in
order to explore the variance in the diversity of the samples at genus level. Habitat type (terrestrial vs. aquatic) and specific conductivity in the lacustrine systems significantly explained the variation in bacterial community structure. Comparison of the phylotypes with sequences from public databases showed that a considerable proportion (36.9%) is currently known only from Antarctica. This suggests that in Antarctica, both cosmopolitan taxa and taxa with limited dispersal and a history of long-term isolated evolution occur.