Peer-reviewed articles

Comparison of Atmospheric and Lithospheric Culturable Bacterial Communities from Two Dissimilar Active Volcanic Sites, Surtsey Island and Fimmvörðuháls Mountain in Iceland


Aurélien Daussin


Authors: Aurélien Daussin, Pauline Vannier, Marine Ménager, Lola Daboussy, Tina Šantl-Temkiv, Charles Cockell and Viggó Þór Marteinsso

Version: Microorganisms journal

Publication year: 2023


Surface microbes are aerosolized into the atmosphere by wind and events such as dust storms and volcanic eruptions. Before they reach their deposition site, they experience stressful atmospheric conditions which preclude the successful dispersal of a large fraction of cells. In this study, our objectives were to assess and compare the atmospheric and lithospheric bacterial cultivable diversity of two geographically different Icelandic volcanic sites: the island Surtsey and the Fimmvörðuháls mountain, to predict the origin of the culturable microbes from these sites, and to select airborne candidates for further investigation. Using a combination of MALDI Biotyper analysis and partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, a total of 1162 strains were identified, belonging to 72 species affiliated to 40 genera with potentially 26 new species. The most prevalent phyla identified were Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. Statistical analysis showed significant differences between atmospheric and lithospheric microbial communities, with distinct communities in Surtsey's air. By combining the air mass back trajectories and the analysis of the closest representative species of our isolates, we concluded that 85% of our isolates came from the surrounding environments and only 15% from long distances. The taxonomic proportions of the isolates were reflected by the site's nature and location.

Link to article.