High occurrence of Pacearchaeota and Woesearchaeota (Archaea superphylum DPANN) in the surface waters of oligotrophic high-altitude lakes

Environ Microbiol Rep. 2016 Apr;8(2):210-7. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12370. Epub 2016 Jan 28.


We carried out a regional survey on the archaea composition from surface waters of > 300 high-altitude Pyrenean lakes (average altitude 2300 m, pH range 4.4-10.1) by 16S rRNA gene tag sequencing. Relative Archaea abundances ranged between 0% and 6.3% of total prokaryotes amplicons in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) mixture, and we detected 769 operational taxonomic units (OTUs; grouped at 97% identity) that split into 13 different lineages, with altitude and pH having a significant effect on the community composition. Woesearchaeota and Pacearchaeota (formerly Euryarchaeota DHVEG-6 cluster) dominated the data set (83% of total OTUS), showed a high occurrence (presence in c. 75% of the lakes) and had relative abundances significantly and positively correlated with the phylogenetic diversity of bacterial communities. Micrarchaeota-Diapherotrites (formerly Euryarchaeota MEG cluster), Methanomicrobia, Thermoplasmata and ammonia-oxidizing thaumarchaeota (AOA) showed relative abundances between 1% and 3% and occurrences between 14% and 26%. Minor lineages were SM1K20, Aenigmarchaeota (formerly Euryarchaeota DSEG cluster), Methanobacteria, Bathyarchaeota and SCG. Environmental preferences substantially differed among lineages, with Aenigmarchaeota and Methanomicrobia having the largest habitat breadth, and Thermoplasmata, AOA and Micrarchaeota having the smallest. Pacearchaeota and Woesearchaeota had been mostly reported from saline habitats and sediments, but surface waters of oligotrophic alpine lakes are suitable environments for such ecologically spread and genetically diverse archaeal lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Biota*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA, Archaeal / chemistry
  • DNA, Archaeal / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Euryarchaeota / classification*
  • Euryarchaeota / genetics
  • Euryarchaeota / isolation & purification*
  • Lakes / microbiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Spain


  • DNA, Archaeal
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S