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Structural and functional analysis of a microbial mat ecosystem from a unique permanent hypersaline inland lake : La Salada de Chiprana (NE Spain)

Jonkers, H. M. and Ludwig, R. and De Wit, R. and Pringault, O. and Muyzer, G. and Niemann, H. and Finke, N. and De Beer, D.. (2003) Structural and functional analysis of a microbial mat ecosystem from a unique permanent hypersaline inland lake : La Salada de Chiprana (NE Spain). FEMS microbiology ecology, 44 (2). pp. 175-189.

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Abstract

The benthic microbial mat community of the only permanent hypersaline natural inland lake of Western Europe, 'La Salada de Chiprana', northeastern Spain, was structurally and functionally analyzed. The ionic composition of the lake water is characterized by high concentrations of magnesium and sulfate, which were respectively 0.35 and 0.5 M at the time of sampling while the total salinity was 78 g 1(-1). Community composition was analyzed by microscopy, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) pigment analyses and by studying culturable bacteria from different functional groups. Therefore, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was applied on most probable number (MPN) dilution cultures. Microscopy revealed that a thin layer of Chloroflexus-like bacteria overlaid various cyanobacteria-dominated layers each characterized by different morphotypes. DGGE analysis of MPN dilution cultures from distinct mat layers showed that various phylotypes of anoxygenic phototrophic, aerobic heterotrophic, colorless sulfur-, and sulfate-reducing bacteria were present. The mats were furthermore functionally studied and attention was focussed on the relationship between oxygenic primary production and the flow of carbon through the microbial community. Microsensor techniques, porewater and sediment photopigment analysis were applied in order to estimate oxygenic photosynthetic rates, daily dynamics of (in)organic carbon porewater concentration and migration behavior of phototrophs. Chiprana microbial mats produced dissolved organic carbon (DOC) both during the day and night. It was estimated that 14% of the mats gross photosynthetic production and 49% of the mats net photosynthetic production diffused out of the mat in the form of low molecular mass fatty acids, although these compounds made up only 2% of the total DOC pool. The high flux of dissolved fatty acids from the microbial mat to the water column may explain why in this system Chloroflexus-like bacteria proliferate on top of the cyanobacterial layers since these photoheterotrophic bacteria grow preferably on organic phototrophic exudates. Furthermore it may also explain why high numbers of viable sulfate-reducing bacteria were found in the fully oxygenated sediment surface layers. These organisms apparently do not have to compete with aerobic heterotrophic community members due to the ample availability of organic substrates. Moreover, the high production of DOC strongly indicates that the mat community was nutrient limited in its growth. Photopigment analysis revealed furthermore that chlorophyll a (Chla) and three of its allomeres had a complementary depth distribution what suggests that the Chla allomeres are functional adaptations to differences in light quality and/or quantity and may be species specific.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften > Geochemie Stoffkreisläufe (Lehmann)
UniBasel Contributors:Niemann, Helge
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0168-6496
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:25 Sep 2017 09:37
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:04

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