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MICROBIAL MAT COMMUNITIES IN HAWAIIAN LAVA CAVES

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Microbial mats are a prominent feature in many Hawaiian lava caves, but little research has been done on these communities. Since 2008, we have sampled the microbial communities in16 lava caves on the Big Island ofHawaìi to conduct scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis, cultivation, and DNA sequencing. These caves occurred in areas ofHawaìi that varied in rainfall from 47 to 400 cm per year and in flows that ranged in age from thousands of years to less than 100. Sampled communities included microbial mats of various colors from white to tan, yellow, and orange; white mats floating on puddles in the floor; butterscotch-colored organic ooze present in some caves on the walls or ceilings; and a blue-green lava stalactite from a single cave. We also sampled apparent microbial mineral deposits to determine whether deposits contained substantial microorganisms. SEM studies revealed diverse morphologies across the lava caves, with coccoid and filamentous shapes predominating in the microbial mats. The blue-green stalactite exhibited unusual reticulated filaments that have been observed in a few other caves in New Mexico and Germany. Culture media inoculated with microbial mat or mineral deposits on site in the lava caves revealed morphologies consistent with Actinobacteria, and many cultures demonstrated the presence of fugitive dyes that were aqueously soluble. DNA analysis revealed that the white wall microbial mats differed from the yellow, pink, and orange mats, which were similar to each other; Actinobacteria dominated the latter deposits. Overall, the sample types (mat versus mineral versus surface soil) demonstrated significant phylogenic differences, and little overlap between high and low precipitation regimes. Session No. 31 Abstract: MICROBIAL MAT COMMUNITIES IN HAWAIIAN LAVA CAVES (GSA.
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Meeting Information
GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016
Presentation Time: 3:40 PM
MICROBIAL MAT COMMUNITIES IN HAWAIIAN LAVA CAVES
SPILDE, Michael N.
1
, NORTHUP, Diana E.
2
, CAIMI, Nicole A.
2
, BOSTON, Penelope J.
3
, STONE, Frederick D.
4
and SMITH,
Stephen
5
, (1)Institute of Meteoritics, University of New Mexico, MSC03-2050, Albuquerque, NM 87131, (2)Biology Department,
University of New Mexico, MSC03-2020, Albuquerque, NM 87131, (3)NASA Astrobiology Institute, NASA Ames Research Center,
Moffett Field, CA 94035, (4)Natural Sciences Department, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720, (5)Hawaii Speleological Survey,
Hilo, HI 96720, mspilde@unm.edu
Microbial mats are a prominent feature in many Hawaiian lava caves, but little research has been done on these communities. Since
2008, we have sampled the microbial communities in16 lava caves on the Big Island of Hawai`i to conduct scanning electron
microscopy (SEM) analysis, cultivation, and DNA sequencing. These caves occurred in areas of Hawai`i that varied in rainfall from 47
to 400 cm per year and in flows that ranged in age from thousands of years to less than 100. Sampled communities included microbial
mats of various colors from white to tan, yellow, and orange; white mats floating on puddles in the floor; butterscotch-colored organic
ooze present in some caves on the walls or ceilings; and a blue-green lava stalactite from a single cave. We also sampled apparent
microbial mineral deposits to determine whether deposits contained substantial microorganisms. SEM studies revealed diverse
morphologies across the lava caves, with coccoid and filamentous shapes predominating in the microbial mats. The blue-green
stalactite exhibited unusual reticulated filaments that have been observed in a few other caves in New Mexico and Germany. Culture
media inoculated with microbial mat or mineral deposits on site in the lava caves revealed morphologies consistent with
Actinobacteria, and many cultures demonstrated the presence of fugitive dyes that were aqueously soluble. DNA analysis revealed
that the white wall microbial mats differed from the yellow, pink, and orange mats, which were similar to each other; Actinobacteria
dominated the latter deposits. Overall, the sample types (mat versus mineral versus surface soil) demonstrated significant phylogenic
differences, and little overlap between high and low precipitation regimes.
Something for Everybody: The Many Faces of Karst Science in all its Multidisciplinary Glory
Abstract: MICROBIAL MAT COMMUNITIES IN HAWAIIAN LAVA CAVES (GSA... https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2016AM/webprogram/Paper283965.html
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... A large number of studies on the microbiology of lava tube caves have been dedicated to Hawai'i (Northup et al., 2011;Hathaway et al., 2014b;Riquelme et al., 2015b;Spilde et al., 2016) and other USA states (Northup et al., 2011;Popa et al., 2012;Riquelme et al., 2015a;Lavoie et al., 2017) and Azores Islands (De los Ríos et al., 2011;Northup et al., 2011;Hathaway et al., 2014a;Hathaway et al., 2014b;Riquelme et al., 2015a;Riquelme et al., 2015b). A few studies were also published on lava tube caves from Mexico, Galápagos and Easter islands (Luis-Vargas et al., 2019;Miller et al., 2014;Miller et al., 2020b). ...
... In the moonmilk this genus was relatively minor, about 2.5% of abundance. Crossiella is a dominant member of the microbial communities of lava tube caves (Riquelme et al., 2015b;Spilde et al., 2016) and its moonmilk deposits (Miller et al., 2020b). The family Euzebyaceae only reached some importance in the ochre stalactite. ...
... The ochre stalactite was characterized by large quantities of Crossiella; this genus is a common dweller of lava tube caves of Hawai'i and Azores (Riquelme et al., 2015a;Riquelme et al., 2015b;Spilde et al., 2016) and also in limestone caves (Wiseschart et al., 2019), although at lower abundances than in lava tube caves. Gonzalez-Pimentel (2019) found an extraordinary abundance of Crossiella in moonmilk from La Palma lava tube caves. ...
Article
Full-text available
Lava caves differ from karstic caves in their genesis and mineral composition. Subsurface microbiology of lava tube caves in Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, is largely unknown. We have focused the investigation in a representative lava tube cave, Fuente de la Canaria Cave, in La Palma Island, Spain, which presents different types of speleothems and colored microbial mats. Four samples collected in this cave were studied using DNA next-generation sequencing and field emission scanning electron microscopy for bacterial identification, functional profiling, and morphological characterization. The data showed an almost exclusive dominance of Bacteria over Archaea . The distribution in phyla revealed a majority abundance of Proteobacteria (37–89%), followed by Actinobacteria , Acidobacteria and Candidatus Rokubacteria. These four phyla comprised a total relative abundance of 72–96%. The main ecological functions in the microbial communities were chemoheterotrophy, methanotrophy, sulfur and nitrogen metabolisms, and CO 2 fixation; although other ecological functions were outlined. Genome annotations of the especially representative taxon Ga0077536 (about 71% of abundance in moonmilk) predicted the presence of genes involved in CO 2 fixation, formaldehyde consumption, sulfur and nitrogen metabolisms, and microbially-induced carbonate precipitation. The detection of several putative lineages associated with C, N, S, Fe and Mn indicates that Fuente de la Canaria Cave basalts are colonized by metabolically diverse prokaryotic communities involved in the biogeochemical cycling of major elements.
... One of the few lava cave microbial mat studies that extends the discussion of bacterial diversity to the level of genus is the Hawaiian study from 16 caves by Spilde et al. [71]. The samples included white and yellow microbial mats, along with pink-orange mats. ...
... LABE microbial cave community diversity at the phylum and Proteobacteria class level is comparable to diversity found in other major lava cave areas in New Mexico [8,10], Hawai`i [21,71], and the Azores [21,56,69]. Communities in different mat colors show significant overlap, but with many unique members that may contribute to the color of the mats in our study. ...
Article
Full-text available
Subsurface habitats harbor novel diversity that has received little attention until recently. Accessible subsurface habitats include lava caves around the world that often support extensive microbial mats on ceilings and walls in a range of colors. Little is known about lava cave microbial diversity and how these subsurface mats differ from microbial communities in overlying surface soils. To investigate these differences, we analyzed bacterial 16S rDNA from 454 pyrosequencing from three colors of microbial mats (tan, white, and yellow) from seven lava caves in Lava Beds National Monument, CA, USA, and compared them with surface soil overlying each cave. The same phyla were represented in both surface soils and cave microbial mats, but the overlap in shared OTUs (operational taxonomic unit) was only 11.2%. Number of entrances per cave and temperature contributed to observed differences in diversity. In terms of species richness, diversity by mat color differed, but not significantly. Actinobacteria dominated in all cave samples, with 39% from caves and 21% from surface soils. Proteobacteria made up 30% of phyla from caves and 36% from surface soil. Other major phyla in caves were Nitrospirae (7%) followed by minor phyla (7%), compared to surface soils with Bacteroidetes (8%) and minor phyla (8%). Many of the most abundant sequences could not be identified to genus, indicating a high degree of novelty. Surface soil samples had more OTUs and greater diversity indices than cave samples. Although surface soil microbes immigrate into underlying caves, the environment selects for microbes able to live in the cave habitats, resulting in very different cave microbial communities. This study is the first comprehensive comparison of bacterial communities in lava caves with the overlying soil community.
... A special mineral crust occurs in the study area: blue-green stalactite (Fig. 2). This is an amorphous copper silicate-containing deposit, which according to Spilde is rare and unusual (Spilde et al. 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Combining photogrammetric reconstruction (close-range photogrammetry, CRP) and airborne photogrammetry through the structure from motion method (SFM) with terrestrial three-dimensional (3D) laser scanning (TLS), Maelstrom Cave on Big Island, Hawaii (USA), was mapped in three dimensions. The complementary properties of the two methods generated an overall model that depicted significant features of the cave both spatially and visually. Through various processes, the complex geometric quantities were derived from the model that can be used to answer microbiological and climatological questions. In this report, the procedure for the three-dimensional acquisition of the terrain surface above Maelstrom Cave as well as the interior of the cave with TLS and SFM is described. It is shown how the different data sets were combined and contrasted, including a comparison of geometries from the different survey operations. Finally, the editing processes used to quantify and simplify the cave geometry are presented, as well as the analysis of the ellipses generated accordingly to determine the geometric quantities. Through the analysis of the cave geometry, important geometric properties of the Maelstrom Cave could be quantified and categorized. In this way, an effective tool was developed to directly correlate the structure of the cave system with climatological and microbiological parameters in order to answer the corresponding questions.
... Among them ASV 17 was identified as the genus Crossiella. This genus was previously found to be highly abundant in biofilms of multiple cave systems (Riquelme et al., 2015;Spilde et al., 2016), indicating a more generic role in biofilm formation on mineral surfaces in porous systems. ASV 17 (Crossiella) was in our case found in all compartments outside the rhizoplane, suggesting the potential role of non-rhizoplane associated bacteria for the overall EPS-saccharide contents in soil. ...
Article
In the past years, extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) produced by soil microorganisms received an increasing interest, as they not only protect microbes against environmental stresses, but seem to play a pivotal role in soil structure formation as well. Within soils, root deposits provide an important source of easily accessible energy and nutrients, stimulating microbial growth to produce EPS. Especially under semiarid climates, where a full vegetation cover cannot be sustained, large gradients in living conditions for microbes can be found between the root-soil interface and barren intercanopy spaces. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the plant-specific effects on microbes, EPS production and soil aggregation. At two sites in southern Spain, differing in carbonate and graphite content, legume shrubs of Anthyllis cytisoides and grass tussocks of Macrochloa tenacissima were selected. Soil samples were taken in the adjacent bare interspace, under the canopy and of the rhizosphere. From these samples the microbial community (here bacteria and archaea), EPS(-saccharide) content and soil aggregation (<1 mm) were analysed. DNA extracted from the microbial cells detached from the surface of the sampled roots (rhizoplane), was subjected to 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. The rhizoplane microbial communities differed strongly between plant species and sites, whereby site was the most important factor shaping the communities. The plant species effect on microbial communities diminished strongly with distance to the root surface. At the carbonate-poor Rambla Honda site (site 1), plant species-specific effects were observed in the rhizoplane and rhizosphere, whereas in the carbonate-rich Alboloduy site (site 2) almost no plant species-specific effects were found at the genus level. The larger heterogeneity in microbial communities at site 1 was reflected in EPS-saccharide contents and subsequent soil aggregation, while no difference in soil aggregation was found at site 2. Both parameters increased strongest in the Anthyllis cytisoides rhizosphere at site 1. Despite the lack of a strong gradient with distance from the root at the carbonate-rich site 2, microbial taxa were found by network analysis that positively correlated to EPS-saccharide contents and/or soil aggregation. The relationship between the identified taxa and EPS and/or aggregation relationships were clearest at the root-soil interface, while several other taxa were found to be widely occurring in the other soil compartments too. In conclusion, we found in all compartments potential EPS producers, which could have influenced soil aggregation. Nevertheless, microbes with higher relative abundance in the rhizoplane were linked to higher EPS contents, especially in conjunction with legume shrubs, and subsequently related to soil aggregation. The spatial extent of the root effect was only governed by carbonate contents, as higher carbonate content diminished the observed root effects on the microbial community and subsequent soil aggregation.
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