Cyanobacterial composition of microbial mats from an Australian thermal spring: a polyphasic evaluation.FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2008 Jan; 63(1):23-35.FM
Cyanobacterial composition of microbial mats from an alkaline thermal spring issuing at 43-71 degrees C from tropical north-eastern Australia are described using a polyphasic approach. Eight genera and 10 species from three cyanobacterial orders were identified based on morphological characters. These represented taxa previously known as thermophilic from other continents. Ultrastructural analysis of the tower mats revealed two filamentous morphotypes contributed the majority of the biomass. Both types had ultrastructural characteristics of the family Pseudanabaenaceae. DNA extracts were made from sections of the tentaculiform towers and the microbial community analysed by 16S cyanobacteria-specific PCR and denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis. Five significant bands were identified and sequenced. Two bands clustered closely with Oscillatoria amphigranulata isolated from New Zealand hot springs; one unique phylotype had only moderate similarity to a range of Leptolyngbya species; and one phylotype was closely related to a number of Geitlerinema species. Generally the approaches yielded complementary information, however the results suggest that species designation based on morphological and ultrastructural criteria alone often fails to recognize their true phylogenetic position. Conversely some molecular techniques may fail to detect rare taxa suggesting that the widest possible suite of techniques be applied when conducting analyses of cyanobacterial diversity of natural populations. This is the first polyphasic evaluation of thermophilic cyanobacterial communities from the Australian continent.