Studies of sulfidic springs have provided new insights into microbial metabolism, groundwater biogeochemistry, and geologic processes. We investigated Great Sulphur Spring on the western shore of Lake Erie and evaluated the phylogenetic affiliations of 189 bacterial and 77 archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences from three habitats: the spring origin (11-m depth), bacterial-algal mats on the spring pond surface, and whitish filamentous materials from the spring drain. Water from the spring origin water was cold, pH 6.3, and anoxic (H2, 5.4 nM; CH4, 2.70 ??M) with concentrations of S2- (0.03 mM), SO42- (14.8 mM), Ca2+ (15.7 mM), and HCO3- (4.1 mM) similar to those in groundwater from the local aquifer. No archaeal and few bacterial sequences were >95% similar to sequences of cultivated organisms. Bacterial sequences were largely affiliated with sulfur-metabolizing or chemolithotrophic taxa in Beta-, Gamma-, Delta-, and Epsilonproteobacteria. Epsilonproteobacteria sequences similar to those obtained from other sulfidic environments and a new clade of Cyanobacteria sequences were particularly abundant (16% and 40%, respectively) in the spring origin clone library. Crenarchaeota sequences associated with archaeal-bacterial consortia in whitish filaments at a German sulfidic spring were detected only in a similar habitat at Great Sulphur Spring. This study expands the geographic distribution of many uncultured Archaea and Bacteria sequences to the Laurentian Great Lakes, indicates possible roles for epsilonproteobacteria in local aquifer chemistry and karst formation, documents new oscillatorioid Cyanobacteria lineages, and shows that uncultured, cold-adapted Crenarchaeota sequences may comprise a significant part of the microbial community of some sulfidic environments. Copyright ?? 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
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Bacterial and archaeal phylogenetic diversity of a cold sulfur-rich spring on the shoreline of Lake Erie, Michigan