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APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY
Vol. 72, No. 8, 2006; Pages: 5325–5330


Eukaryotic Community Distribution and Its Relationship to Water Physicochemical Parameters in an Extreme Acidic Environment, Rio Tinto (Southwestern Spain)†

Angeles Aguilera,1* Susanna C. Manrubia,1 Felipe Gomez,1 Nuria Rodriguez,1 and Ricardo Amils1,2

Centro de Astrobiologia, Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial, Carretera de Ajalvir Km
4, 28850 Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

The correlation between water physicochemical parameters and eukaryotic benthic composition was examined in Rio Tinto. Principal component analysis showed a high inverse relationship between pH and most of the heavy metals analyzed as well as Dunaliella sp., while Chlamydomonas sp. abundance was positively related. Zn, Cu, and Ni clustered together and showed a strong inverse correlation with the diversity coefficient and most of the species analyzed. These eukaryotic communities seem to be more influenced by the presence of heavy metals than by the pHNatural extreme acidic rivers are scarce worldwide (18). Extreme acidic environments, characterized by a pH of <3, are often the consequence of anthropogenic influences (e.g., mining activity or acid rain) (14). Thus, most ecological studies of acidic waters have been focused on environments affected by human activity. In addition, most of the information available about acidophilic communities in aquatic environments is focused on bacterial communities, although microbial eukaryotes are also present and could also play a critical role in these places. There have been few reports on eukaryotes, and most of them are related to acid mine drainages instead of naturally acidic locations (2, 3, 16). Moreover, these studies are often carried out in lakes, probably because of the difficulty in obtaining integrated representative samples in rivers.

Keywords:physicochemical parameters;eukaryotic benthic;Dunaliella sp;Chlamydomonas sp;Zn, Cu, and Ni;Bacillariophyta; Chlorophyta;Euglenophyta phyla;taxonomy.


Corresponding author: Tel 34-915206461; Fax 34-915201074

E-mail: aaguilera@cbm.uam.es

 

 
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