Despite their key role in biogeochemical processes, particularly the methane cycle, archaea are widely underrepresented in molecular surveys because of their lower abundance compared with bacteria and eukaryotes. Here, we use parallel high-resolution small subunit rRNA gene sequencing to explore archaeal diversity in 109 Swedish lakes and correlate archaeal community assembly mechanisms to large-scale latitudinal, climatic (nemoral to arctic) and nutrient (oligotrophic to eutrophic) gradients. Sequencing with universal primers showed the contribution of archaea was on average 0.8% but increased up to 1.5% of the three domains in forest lakes. Archaea-specific sequencing revealed that freshwater archaeal diversity could be partly explained by lake variables associated with nutrient status. Combined with deterministic co-occurrence patterns this finding suggests that ecological drift is overridden by environmental sorting, as well as other deterministic processes such as biogeographic and evolutionary history, leading to lake-specific archaeal biodiversity. Acetoclastic, hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic methanogens as well as ammonia-oxidizing archaea were frequently detected across the lakes. Archaea-specific sequencing also revealed representatives of Woesearchaeota and other phyla of the DPANN superphylum. This study adds to our understanding of the ecological range of key archaea in freshwaters and links these taxa to hypotheses about processes governing biogeochemical cycles in lakes.
© 2020 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.