The ecology of the Aquificales was studied using a combination of phylogenetic and cultivation approaches. Enrichment cultures were prepared from low-salt and marine samples of geothermally and volcanically heated environments of the United States (Yellowstone National Park), Russia (Kamchatka), Italy, Germany, Djibouti, Iceland, and Africa (Lake Tanganyika). Isolation of single cells using the selected cell cultivation technique resulted in 15 different pure cultures. Comparisons of their 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that most of the isolates were new representatives of the major lineages of the Aquificaceae, represented by the genera Aquifex, Thermocrinis, Hydrogenobaculum, and Hydrogenobacter. Isolate HI 11/12, which was obtained from whitish streamers in the Hveragerthi area of Iceland, represents a separate branch within the Aquificaceae. The organism grew at salinities up to 0.7% NaCl and at temperatures up to 89 degrees C. Depending on the culture conditions, the organisms occurred as single motile rods, as aggregates, or as long filaments that formed whitish streamer-like cell masses. The novel isolate grew chemolithoautotrophically with hydrogen, sulfur, or thiosulfate as the electron donor under microaerophilic conditions. It represents a second species within the order Thermocrinis, which we name Thermocrinis albus HI 11/12 (DSM 14484, JCM 11386).