The Santa Pola saltern as a model for studying the microbiota of hypersaline environments

Extremophiles. 2014 Sep;18(5):811-24. doi: 10.1007/s00792-014-0681-6. Epub 2014 Aug 17.


Multi-pond salterns constitute an excellent model for the study of the microbial diversity and ecology of hypersaline environments, showing a wide range of salt concentrations, from seawater to salt saturation. Accumulated studies on the Santa Pola (Alicante, Spain) multi-pond solar saltern during the last 35 years include culture-dependent and culture-independent molecular methods and metagenomics more recently. These approaches have permitted to determine in depth the microbial diversity of the ponds with intermediate salinities (from 10% salts) up to salt saturation, with haloarchaea and bacteria as the two main dominant groups. In this review, we describe the main results obtained using the different methodologies, the most relevant contributions for understanding the ecology of these extreme environments and the future perspectives for such studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Metagenome*
  • Microbiota*
  • Ponds / chemistry
  • Ponds / microbiology*
  • Ponds / virology
  • Salinity*
  • Salt Tolerance*