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Title: The Epsomitic Phototrophic Microbial Mat of Hot Lake, Washington. Community Structural Responses to Seasonal Cycling

Phototrophic microbial mats are compact ecosystems composed of highly interactive organisms in which energy and element cycling take place over millimeter-to-centimeter-scale distances. Although microbial mats are common in hypersaline environments, they have not been extensively characterized in systems dominated by divalent ions. Hot Lake is a meromictic, epsomitic lake that occupies a small, endorheic basin in north-central Washington. The lake harbors a benthic, phototrophic mat that assembles each spring, disassembles each fall, and is subject to greater than tenfold variation in salinity (primarily Mg2+ and SO2-4) and irradiation over the annual cycle. We examined spatiotemporal variation in the mat community at five time points throughout the annual cycle with respect to prevailing physicochemical parameters by amplicon sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene coupled to near-full-length 16S RNA clone sequences. The composition of these microbial communities was relatively stable over the seasonal cycle and included dominant populations of Cyanobacteria, primarily a group IV cyanobacterium (Leptolyngbya), and Alphaproteobacteria (specifically, members of Rhodobacteraceae and Geminicoccus). Members of Gammaproteobacteria (e.g., Thioalkalivibrio and Halochromatium) and Deltaproteobacteria (e.g., Desulfofustis) that are likely to be involved in sulfur cycling peaked in summer and declined significantly by mid-fall, mirroring larger trends in mat communitymore » richness and evenness. Phylogenetic turnover analysis of abundant phylotypes employing environmental metadata suggests that seasonal shifts in light variability exert a dominant influence on the composition of Hot Lake microbial mat communities. The seasonal development and organization of these structured microbial mats provide opportunities for analysis of the temporal and physical dynamics that feed back to community function.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X; 47977; KP1601010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Frontiers in Microbiology; Journal Volume: 4
Frontiers Research Foundation
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES hot lake; phototrophic microbial mat community; 16S tag sequencing; phylogenetic turnover microbial diversity; seasonal cycling; community assembly; magnesium sulfate; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory