Microorganisms are the most diverse life form on the planet and are critical for maintaining the geochemical cycles, especially in extreme environments. Bacterial communities are dynamic and respond directly to changes in abiotic conditions; among these communities, poly-extremophiles are particularly sensitive to perturbations due to their high specialization. Salar de Huasco is a high-altitude wetland located on the Chilean Altiplano exhibiting several conditions considered extreme for life, including negative water balance, extreme variations in temperature and pH values, high UV radiation, and the presence of various toxic metal(oids). However, previous reports have revealed a diverse bacterial community that has adapted to these conditions, here, we aimed to determine whether microbial community diversity and composition changed in response to geographical and seasonal variations. We found that there are significant differences in diversity, abundance, and composition in bacterial taxa that could be attributed to local geographical and seasonal variations, which in turn, can be associated with microbial traits. In conclusion, in this poly-extreme environment, small-scale changes can trigger significant changes in the microbial communities that maintain basic biogeochemical cycles. Further in depth analysis of microbial functionality and geo-ecological dynamics are necessary to better understand the relationships between seasonal changes and bacterial communities.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Microbiología y biotecnología aplicadas