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From hot springs to rice farms, scientists reveal new insights into the secret lives of archaea

ist Christa Schleper showed that nitrifying eota were up to 3,000-times more abundant in European soils than their bacterial counterparts.

Mexico to Iceland

At the AGU meeting, Francis and former Stanford graduate student Mike Beman will discuss the role of marine archaea in Mexico's Gulf of California, where nitrifying Crenarchaeota appear to be extremely abundant, even at depths of 2,000 feet.

In Iceland, Schleper and her colleagues recently identified the first ammonia-oxidizing extremophiles-a group of Crenarchaeota that inhabit several acidic hot springs where temperatures reach 80 C (176 F). ''Collectively, our study provides evidence that ammonia-oxidizing archaea are present in hot springs and are actively nitrifying,'' said ecologist Andreas Richter of the University of Vienna, who will present the group's findings at AGU.

''Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria were discovered more than 100 years ago, and ammonia oxidation was previously thought only to exist in the bacterial realm,'' Francis said. ''Nobody ever guessed that members of the Archaea were also involved in this process. We're still figuring out how all the pieces fit together.''
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Source:Stanford University


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