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Investigation of bacterioplankton communities in aquatic karst pools in Bärenschacht cave of Bernese Oberland


Shabarova, T; Pernthaler, J (2009). Investigation of bacterioplankton communities in aquatic karst pools in Bärenschacht cave of Bernese Oberland. In: White, W B. Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Speleology, Kerrville, Texas, July 19-26, 2009. Huntsville, AL: National Speleological Society, 416-421.

Abstract

Karst subterraneous aquifers are highly diverse in structure and very important in the formation of
ground water, which is the main source of freshwater supply for a significant proportion of the world’s
population. Microorganisms can play an important role in karstification, carbon cycle and element
mobility, but so far little is known about the bacteria of aquatic karst ecosystems. In this study, karst
pools with differing hydrology in the Bärenschacht cave of the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland were
investigated for a period of six months. Two crystalline pools were supplied by dripping water whereas
one epiphreatic pool was renewed only by the rising groundwater table at intervals of several days
to months. Chemical parameters such as conductivity, pH, ion concentration, as well as bacterial
abundance and diversity were determined at several time points. The investigated pools showed
remarkably different physicochemical parameters as well as bacterial properties. Although the dominant
bacterial group in all three systems was β-Proteobacteria, no population overlap inside this group was
found between the crystalline pools and the epiphreatic system. Actinobacteria were present mainly
in the systems with dripping water supply, whereas bacteria from the Flavobacteriaceae family were
identified in both types of systems. Some microorganisms affiliated with Bacteroidetes could also be
isolated and investigated in more detail. Generally, most of the identified microorganisms were not
closely related to typical freshwater bacteria. Therefore, karst habitats might represent an environment
for very specialized microorganisms.

Karst subterraneous aquifers are highly diverse in structure and very important in the formation of
ground water, which is the main source of freshwater supply for a significant proportion of the world’s
population. Microorganisms can play an important role in karstification, carbon cycle and element
mobility, but so far little is known about the bacteria of aquatic karst ecosystems. In this study, karst
pools with differing hydrology in the Bärenschacht cave of the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland were
investigated for a period of six months. Two crystalline pools were supplied by dripping water whereas
one epiphreatic pool was renewed only by the rising groundwater table at intervals of several days
to months. Chemical parameters such as conductivity, pH, ion concentration, as well as bacterial
abundance and diversity were determined at several time points. The investigated pools showed
remarkably different physicochemical parameters as well as bacterial properties. Although the dominant
bacterial group in all three systems was β-Proteobacteria, no population overlap inside this group was
found between the crystalline pools and the epiphreatic system. Actinobacteria were present mainly
in the systems with dripping water supply, whereas bacteria from the Flavobacteriaceae family were
identified in both types of systems. Some microorganisms affiliated with Bacteroidetes could also be
isolated and investigated in more detail. Generally, most of the identified microorganisms were not
closely related to typical freshwater bacteria. Therefore, karst habitats might represent an environment
for very specialized microorganisms.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:23 Jan 2010 18:27
Last Modified:18 Aug 2016 07:43
Publisher:National Speleological Society
ISBN:978-1-87-996133-3
Official URL:http://www.ics2009.us/pubs.html
Related URLs:http://www.lib.usf.edu/karst-test/SPT--BrowseResources.php?ParentId=367 (Publisher)
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-28082

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