Microbial life in a fjord: metagenomic analysis of a microbial mat in Chilean patagonia

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 28;8(8):e71952. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071952. eCollection 2013.


The current study describes the taxonomic and functional composition of metagenomic sequences obtained from a filamentous microbial mat isolated from the Comau fjord, located in the northernmost part of the Chilean Patagonia. The taxonomic composition of the microbial community showed a high proportion of members of the Gammaproteobacteria, including a high number of sequences that were recruited to the genomes of Moritella marina MP-1 and Colwelliapsycherythraea 34H, suggesting the presence of populations related to these two psychrophilic bacterial species. Functional analysis of the community indicated a high proportion of genes coding for the transport and metabolism of amino acids, as well as in energy production. Among the energy production functions, we found protein-coding genes for sulfate and nitrate reduction, both processes associated with Gammaproteobacteria-related sequences. This report provides the first examination of the taxonomic composition and genetic diversity associated with these conspicuous microbial mat communities and provides a framework for future microbial studies in the Comau fjord.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chile
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Gammaproteobacteria / classification
  • Gammaproteobacteria / genetics
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / genetics
  • Metagenome*
  • Microbial Consortia / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Molecular Typing
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rivers
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Water Microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

Grant support

This work was partially supported by Fondecyt grants 1070552, 1110786 (VAG) and 1120469 (PM), PIA-Conicyt PFB08-24 (MJG), Universidad de Concepcion DIUC 210.112-103-1.0 (VAG) and National Science Foundation award MCB-1149552 (EEA). Sequencing was possible thanks to an award from Omics Solutions, Chile. JAU was partially supported by a Fulbright-Conicyt fellowship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.