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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 84:191-203 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01936

Ciliate diversity in cold water spring sources in Iceland

Ragnhildur Guðmundsdóttir1,*, Agnes-Katharina Kreiling1,2, Bjarni K. Kristjánsson2, Viggó Þór Marteinsson3,4, Snæbjörn Pálsson1

1Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
2Hólar University, 551 Sauðárkrókur, Iceland
3Matis ohf./Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D, Vínlandsleið 12, 113 Reykjavík, Iceland
4Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Cold groundwater springs at the edges of lava fields along the volcanic active zone in Iceland are an interesting habitat, presenting an ecotone between groundwater, surface water and the terrestrial ecosystems. They are categorized as fennoscandian mineral-rich springs according to the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) classification (C2.111 European Environmental Agency) and have a high conservation value. They are also an island-like phenomena in the landscape and, together with the stable chemical and physical properties of the groundwater, make excellent study sites for testing questions regarding community assembly theory. To explore the biota of these systems, we applied environmental metabarcoding to assess ciliate diversity in this habitat. DNA was extracted and metabarcoding based on the 18S rRNA gene was conducted for (1) water samples and (2) glass beads as support for biomass development. Alpha diversity for ciliate communities in the spring sources increased with temperature, and limnocrene springs had fewer, more abundant taxa than rheocrene springs. Differences were observed between the water samples and the glass bead samples, mainly in terms of abundance. When considering only the water samples, no variation was found among spring source communities, indicating that stochastic processes such as dispersal and ecological drift might be important in shaping the community composition.


KEY WORDS: Protozoa · Environmental DNA · Metabarcoding · Groundwater/surface water ecotone


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Cite this article as: Guðmundsdóttir R, Kreiling AK, Kristjánsson BK, Marteinsson VÞ, Pálsson S (2020) Ciliate diversity in cold water spring sources in Iceland. Aquat Microb Ecol 84:191-203. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01936

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