A Window to the Subsurface: Microbial Diversity in Hot Springs of a Sulfidic Cave (Kaklik, Turkey)

Gulecal-Pektas Y., Temel M.

GEOMICROBIOLOGY JOURNAL, vol.34, no.4, pp.374-384, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01490451.2016.1204374
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.374-384
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Caves are windows to the extreme habitats of deep subsurface, and provide answers of unknowns about the underground life. Furthermore, sulfidic caves are important analogues for the early Earth environments, since some environmental conditions are common, such as high sulfur concentration, high temperature and oxygen-poor conditions. Kaklik Cave (Denizli, Turkey) with its travertine formation, carbonate- and sulfur-rich thermal springs, exhibits a unique ecosystem as a sulfidic cave. This study represents the first molecular survey of the microbial community in the Kaklik Cave, Turkey using high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing analysis. An average of 859-2,416 operational taxonomic units per sample were observed including 25 bacterial phyla and 3 archaeal phyla. The bacterial diversity profiles were generally dominated by Epsilonproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria. At the carbonate-rich hot spring, that formed travertine structure, 9.7% of sequence reads affiliated with Thiofaba spp. In contrast, 38.74% of the total sequence reads at the sulfidic hot spring samples associated with the genus Sulfurimonas and Sulfurovum. In the archaeal community composition, Thermoplasmata was the most abundant group in all sampling areas. The 454-pyrotag results provide leads about ammonia-, nitrite- and sulfur-oxidation as well as sulfur-reduction, carbon dioxide fixation, and nitrogen fixation.