FEMS microbiology ecology

Spatio-temporal changes in the structure of archaeal communities in two deep freshwater lakes.

PMID 23730709


In this study, we evaluated the driving forces exerted by a large set of environmental and biological parameters on the spatial and temporal dynamics of archaeal community structure in two neighbouring peri-alpine lakes that differ in terms of trophic status. We analysed monthly data from a 2-year sampling period at two depths corresponding to the epi- and hypolimnetic layers. The archaeal communities seemed to be mainly composed of ammonia-oxidizing archaea belonging to the thaumarchaeotal phylum. The spatio-temporal dynamics of these communities were very similar in the two lakes and were characterized by (1) disparities in archaeal community structure in both time and space and (2) no seasonal reproducibility between years. The archaeal communities were regulated by a complex combination of abiotic factors, including temperature, nutrients, chlorophyll a and dissolved oxygen, and biotic factors such as heterotrophic nanoflagellates and ciliates. However, in most cases, these factors explained < 52% of the variance in archaeal community structure, while we showed in a previous study that these factors explained 70-90% of the temporal variance for bacteria. This suggests that Bacteria and Archaea may be influenced by different factors and could occupy different ecological niches despite similar spatio-temporal dynamics.