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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Connectivity of Fennoscandian Shield terrestrial deep biosphere microbiomes with surface communities

Westmeijer, George; Mehrshad, Maliheh; Turner, Stephanie; Alakangas, Linda; Sachpazidou, Varvara; Bunse, Carina; Pinhassi, Jarone; Ketzer, Marcelo; Astrom, Mats; Bertilsson, Stefan; Dopson, Mark


The deep biosphere is an energy constrained ecosystem yet fosters diverse microbial communities that are key in biogeochemical cycling. Whether microbial communities in deep biosphere groundwaters are shaped by infiltration of allochthonous surface microorganisms or the evolution of autochthonous species remains unresolved. In this study, 16S rRNA gene amplicon analyses showed that few groups of surface microbes infiltrated deep biosphere groundwaters at the aspo Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden, but that such populations constituted up to 49% of the microbial abundance. The dominant persisting phyla included Patescibacteria, Proteobacteria, and Epsilonbacteraeota. Despite the hydrological connection of the Baltic Sea with the studied groundwaters, infiltrating microbes predominantly originated from deep soil groundwater. Most deep biosphere groundwater populations lacked surface representatives, suggesting that they have evolved from ancient autochthonous populations. We propose that deep biosphere groundwater communities in the Fennoscandian Shield consist of selected infiltrated and indigenous populations adapted to the prevailing conditions.Westmeijer et al. employ high-throughput sequencing to investigate the connection between deep biosphere groundwaters and surface microbial communities. They suggest that the microbial communities of deep biosphere groundwaters in the Fennoscandian Shield are mostly comprised of autochthonous species, rather than migratory surface representatives.

Published in

Communications biology
2022, volume: 5, number: 1, article number: 37

Authors' information

Westmeijer, George
Linnaeus University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Turner, Stephanie
Linnaeus University
Alakangas, Linda
Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB)
Sachpazidou, Varvara
Linnaeus University
Bunse, Carina
Linnaeus University
Bunse, Carina
Univ Oldenburg HIFMB
Pinhassi, Jarone
Linnaeus University
Ketzer, Marcelo
Linnaeus University
Astrom, Mats
Linnaeus University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Dopson, Mark
Linnaeus University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water

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