Factors affecting the distribution, abundance and diversity of uncultured archaeal groups in freshwater sediments

Compte Port, Sergi
Archaea are abundant in extreme environments but they are also a prevalent component of microbial communities in soils, marine or freshwater plankton and sediments. Many studies highlighted the prominent role of marine sedimentary Archaea in global nutrient cycles. Less information is available, however, on the diversity, abundance and ecological role of Archaea in freshwater sediments. A serious pitfall for the study of Archaea is their low cultivability under laboratory-controlled conditions thus constraining the progress towards the complete understanding of their metabolic capabilities and ecological functions. Most of the work is thus based on molecular techniques that allow the identification and quantification of target microorganisms without their cultivation. In this PhD project, we applied a combination of high-throughput sequencing and quantitative PCR to investigate the distribution, abundance and composition of archaeal communities in sediments from different freshwater systems (lakes, lagoons and reservoirs encompassing a wide range of conditions and typologies). The work has been focused in two archaeal groups consistently found, and especially abundant, in sediments: the phylum Bathyarchaeota and the class Thermoplasmata ​
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