The influence of temperature and pH on bacterial community composition of microbial mats in hot springs from Costa Rica


We used the 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing approach to investigate the microbial diversity and community composition in several Costa Rican hot springs alongside the latitudinal axis of the country, with a range of temperatures (37–63°C), pH (6–7.5) and other geochemical conditions. A principal component analyses of the physicochemical parameters showed the samples were separated into three geochemically distinct habitats associated with the location (North, Central, and South). Cyanobacteria and Chloroflexi comprised 93% of the classified community, the former being the most abundant phylum in all samples except for Rocas Calientes 1, (63°C, pH 6), where Chloroflexi and Deinococcus-Thermus represented 84% of the OTUs. Chloroflexi were more abundant as temperature increased. Proteobacteria, Bacteriodetes and Deinococcus-Thermus comprised 5% of the OTUs represented. Other Phyla were present in very small percentages (<1%). A LINKTREE analysis showed that the community structure of the mats was shaped primarily by pH, separating samples with pH > 6.6 from samples with pH < 6.4. Thus, both pH and temperature were relevant for community composition even within the moderate ranges of variables studied. These results provide a basis for an understanding of the physicochemical influences in moderately thermophilic microbial mats.

Beatriz Díez Moreno
Beatriz Díez Moreno
Associate Professor.
P. Universidad Católica de Chile.
School of Biological Sciences,
Department of Molecular
Genetics and Microbiology,
Santiago, Chile.