Archaeal populations in biological soil crusts from arid lands in North America

Tanya Soule, Ian J. Anderson, Shannon L. Johnson, Scott T. Bates, Ferran Garcia-Pichel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Archaea are common and abundant members of biological soil crust communities across large-scale biogeographic provinces of arid North America. Regardless of microbial community development, archaeal populations averaged 2 × 107 16S rRNA gene copies per gram of soil, representing around 5% of the prokaryotic (total calculated bacterial and archaeal) numbers assessed by quantitative-PCR. In contrast, archaeal diversity, determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and clone libraries of 16S rRNA genes, was very restricted. Only six different phylotypes (all Crenarchaea) were detected, three of which were very dominant. Some phylotypes were widespread, while others were typical of Southern desert areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2069-2074
Number of pages6
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • 16S rRNA
  • Archaea
  • Biological soil crust
  • Desert
  • Mixed community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science


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