Tibetan lakes represent a unique microbial environment and are a good ecosystem to investigate the microbial diversity of high mountain lakes and their relationship with environmental factors. The diversity and community structure of bacterioplankton in Tibetan lakes was determined using DNA fingerprinting analysis, high-density 16S rRNA gene microarray (PhyloChip) analysis, and extensive clone library analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA genes. A previously unseen high microbial diversity (1732 operational taxonomic units based on PhyloChip data) and numerous novel bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences were observed. Abundant SAR11-like sequences retrieved from saline Lake Qinghai demonstrated a unique SAR11 phylogenetic sister clade related to the freshwater LD12 clade. Water chemistry (e.g. salinity) and altitude played important roles in the selection of bacterial taxa (both presence and relative abundance) in Tibetan lakes. The ubiquity and uniqueness of bacterial taxa, as well as the correlation between environmental factors and bacterial taxa, was observed to vary gradually with different phylogenetic levels. Our study suggested high microbial cosmopolitanism and high endemicity observed at higher and lower phylogenetic levels, respectively.
- Microbial diversity
- Tibetan lakes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology