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1 December 2017 Life in Extreme Habitats: Diversity of Endolithic Microorganisms from Cold Desert Ecosystems of Eastern Pamir
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The aim of this study was to identify cyanobacteria diversity in rock communities from the cold desert ecosystem in Eastern Pamir Mountains (Tajikistan) and assess if the rock type and rock`s porosity can be indicators of microbial diversity in this extreme environment. Seven samples were collected in July 2015 from hillsides (ca 4000–4500 m a.s.l.) of the Eastern Pamir Mountains. Petrographic and scanning microscopy (SEM) allowed for the characterization of the rocks inhabited by endolithic communities as granite, gneiss and limestone with variable porosity. Based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) of amplicon of V3–V4 hypervariable region of 16S rRNA gene, we established that Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Cyanobacteria dominated the endolithic communities of microorganisms in the rocks studied, which distinguishes these communities from those described for other cold arid regions. Chroococcidiopsis and Leptolyngbya were dominant genera in the cyanobacterial communities according to culture-dependent analysis, as well as microscopic analyses of endoliths scraps from the rocks. Culture-independent metagenomic analyses revealed that Microcoleus, Acaryochloris, Chroococcidiopsis and Thermosynechococcus reads were the most abundant from all reads and dominated interchangeably in the samples. Endolithic communities of microorganisms in the rocks from the cold desert shrubland of Eastern Pamir Mts. appear to be diverse and different from communities described for other cold deserts.

Nataliia Khomutovska, Maja Jerzak, Iwona Kostrzewska-Szlakowska, Jan Kwiatowski, Małgorzata Suska-Malawska, Marcin Syczewski, and Iwona Jasser "Life in Extreme Habitats: Diversity of Endolithic Microorganisms from Cold Desert Ecosystems of Eastern Pamir," Polish Journal of Ecology 65(4), 303-319, (1 December 2017).
Published: 1 December 2017

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