Morphological and phylogenetic diversity of thermophilic cyanobacteria in Algerian hot springs.Extremophiles. 2014 Nov; 18(6):1035-47.E
Geothermal springs in Algeria have been known since the Roman Empire. They mainly locate in Eastern Algeria and are inhabited by thermophilic organisms, which include cyanobacteria forming mats and concretions. In this work, we have investigated the cyanobacterial diversity of these springs. Cyanobacteria were collected from water, concretions and mats in nine hot springs with water temperatures ranging from 39 to 93 °C. Samples were collected for isolation in culture, microscopic morphological examination, and molecular diversity analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. Nineteen different cyanobacterial morphotypes were identified, the most abundant of which were three species of Leptolyngbya, accompanied by members of the genera Gloeocapsa, Gloeocapsopsis, Stigonema, Fischerella, Synechocystis, Microcoleus, Cyanobacterium, Chroococcus and Geitlerinema. Molecular diversity analyses were in good general agreement with classical identification and allowed the detection of additional species in three springs with temperatures higher than 50 °C. They corresponded to a Synechococcus clade and to relatives of the intracellularly calcifying Candidatus Gloeomargarita lithophora. The hottest springs were dominated by members of Leptolyngbya, Synechococcus-like cyanobacteria and Gloeomargarita, whereas Oscillatoriales other than Leptolyngbya, Chroococcales and Stigonematales dominated lower temperature springs. The isolation of some of these strains sets the ground for future studies on the biology of thermophilic cyanobacteria.