Ancient photosynthetic eukaryote biofilms in an Atacama Desert coastal cave

Microbial Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Caves offer a stable and protected environment from harsh and changing outside prevailing conditions. Hence, they represent an interesting habitat for studying life in extreme environments. Here, we report the presence of a member of the ancient eukaryote red algae Cyanidium group in a coastal cave of the hyperarid Atacama Desert. This microorganism was found to form a seemingly monospecific biofilm growing under extremely low photon flux levels. Our work suggests that this species, Cyanidium sp. Atacama, is a new member of a recently proposed novel monophyletic lineage of mesophilic "cave" Cyanidium sp., distinct from the remaining three other lineages which are all thermo-acidophilic. The cave described in this work may represent an evolutionary island for life in the midst of the Atacama Desert. ?? Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ancient photosynthetic eukaryote biofilms in an Atacama Desert coastal cave
Series title Microbial Ecology
DOI 10.1007/s00248-009-9500-5
Volume 58
Issue 3
Year Published 2009
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Microbial Ecology
First page 485
Last page 496