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Diversity 2017, 9(3), 31; doi:10.3390/d9030031

16S rRNA Gene-Based Metagenomic Analysis of Ozark Cave Bacteria

1
Math and Science Division, Lyon College, 2300 Highland Road, Batesville, AR 72501, USA
2
Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
3
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Caves)
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Abstract

The microbial diversity within cave ecosystems is largely unknown. Ozark caves maintain a year-round stable temperature (12–14 °C), but most parts of the caves experience complete darkness. The lack of sunlight and geological isolation from surface-energy inputs generate nutrient-poor conditions that may limit species diversity in such environments. Although microorganisms play a crucial role in sustaining life on Earth and impacting human health, little is known about their diversity, ecology, and evolution in community structures. We used five Ozark region caves as test sites for exploring bacterial diversity and monitoring long-term biodiversity. Illumina MiSeq sequencing of five cave soil samples and a control sample revealed a total of 49 bacterial phyla, with seven major phyla: Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Chloroflexi, Bacteroidetes, and Nitrospirae. Variation in bacterial composition was observed among the five caves studied. Sandtown Cave had the lowest richness and most divergent community composition. 16S rRNA gene-based metagenomic analysis of cave-dwelling microbial communities in the Ozark caves revealed that species abundance and diversity are vast and included ecologically, agriculturally, and economically relevant taxa. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacteria; caves; chemoautotrophs; Illumina MiSeq Sequencing; 16S rRNA gene bacteria; caves; chemoautotrophs; Illumina MiSeq Sequencing; 16S rRNA gene
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Oliveira, C.; Gunderman, L.; Coles, C.A.; Lochmann, J.; Parks, M.; Ballard, E.; Glazko, G.; Rahmatallah, Y.; Tackett, A.J.; Thomas, D.J. 16S rRNA Gene-Based Metagenomic Analysis of Ozark Cave Bacteria. Diversity 2017, 9, 31.

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