Project Name Yellowstone Lake: Genetic and Gene Diversity in a Freshwater Lake 
Domain (1) bacteria
Investigators (5)
Institution Montana State University
Project Code CAM_PROJ_YLake
Project Type metagenome


PIs: Timothy R. McDermott, Montana State University William P. Inskeep, Montana State University Kenneth Nealson, J.C. Venter Institute John Varley, Montana State University Shibu Yooseph, J.C. Venter Institute The microbial diversity in Yellowstone Lake was studied. Yellowstone Lake is located in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and is the largest (~352 km2) sub-alpine high-altitude lake in North America (Morgan et al. 2007). It is a pristine, non-regulated body of water with a maximum measured depth of 131 m, an average depth of 42.5 m, and a long 10 yr water retention time (Benson, 1961; Morgan et al. 2007). The lake?s food web is critical to the function of the Yellowstone ecosystem, with the wellbeing of the park?s many charismatic megafauna (grizzly bear, osprey, bald eagle, otter and many others) now recognized as being linked to the lake?s productivity via the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout, a keystone species (Schullery and Varley. 1995). Presumably, microbial food webs are foundational in this regard, yet surprisingly little is known about this or other aspects of the lake?s biology and how the lake accomplishes its important role. The northern half of the lake straddles the edge of the World?s largest active caldera, the 640,000-year-old Yellowstone caldera (Christiansen, 2001). Approximately 10% of the total geothermal flux in YNP comes from Yellowstone Lake (Balistrieri et al. 2007), and intense swarms (~900 tremors) of earthquakes located 5-10 km below the northern region of the lake (Farrell et al. 2010) attests to the significant underlying geothermal activity that equilibrates with the earth?s surface in the form of hot springs, pools, geysers and fumaroles that are visible throughout YNP. Contemporary surveys of the lake floor document hydrothermal explosion craters and hundreds of vents (Balistrieri et al. 2007; Morgan et al. 2003). In this study, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was used for lake reconnaissance and for sampling of active hydrothermal vents (http://www.tbi.montana.edu/media/videos/). The habitats chosen included: i) near-surface (3m and 10 m depth) photic-zones; ii) high-temperature hydrothermal vents on the lake floor that contribute definable geochemical energy inputs; iii) microbial streamers; and iv) hydrothermal vent-water column mixing environments. Using Sanger sequencing and 454 pyrosequencing, approximately 7.5 Gbp of phylogenetic (16S rRNA genes) and metagenomic DNA sequence was generated. Photic-zone samples from in and outside of the Yellowstone caldera were examined to assess impacts of geothermal heat and energy flux on functional gene diversity and distribution. And, functional gene diversity associated with different hydrothermal vents exhibiting different geochemical signatures were studied to determine if patterns in functional gene distribution could be correlated with physiochemical niche determinants. The study generated a robust phylogenetic survey within Yellowstone Lake, correlating prokaryotic diversity with important niche determinants such as temperature, pH, and the presence or absence of important electron donors and acceptors. References Balistrieri, L.S., Shanks, W.C. III, Cuhel, R.L., Aguilar, C., and Klump, J.V. (2007) The influence of sub-lacustrine hydrothermal vents on the geochemistry of Yellowstone Lake. In: In: L.A. Morgan (ed.), Integrated Geoscience Studies in the Greater Yellowstone Area ? Volcanic, Tectonic, and Hydrothermal Processes in the Yellowstone Geoecosystem. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1717, pp. 173-199. Benson, N.G. (1961). Limnology of Yellowstone Lake in Relation to the Cutthroat Trout. Research Report 56, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wash. D.C. 33 pp. Christiansen, R.L. (2001) The quaternary and pliocene Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper, 729-G, 145 pp. Farrell, J., Smith, R.B., Taira, T., Chang, W-L., Puskas, C.M. 2010. Dynamics and rapid migration of the energetic 2008-2009 Yellowstone Lake earthquake swarm. Geophysical Res. Letts. 37:doi:10.1029/2010GL044605 Morgan, L.A., Shanks, W.C., III, Lovalvo, D., Johnson, S.Y., Stephenson, W., Pierce, K.L., et al (2003) Exploration and discovery in Yellowstone Lake: results from high-resolution sonar imaging, seismic reflection profiling, and submersible studies. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 122: 221-242. Morgan, L.A. Shanks, W.C., III, Pierce, K.L., Lovalvo, D.A., Lee, G.K., Webring, M.W., et al. (2007). The floor of Yellowstone Lake is anything but quiet ? new discoveries from high resolution sonar imaging, seismic-reflection profiling, and submersible studies. In: L.A. Morgan (ed.), Integrated Geoscience Studies in the Greater Yellowstone Area ? Volcanic, Tectonic, and Hydrothermal Processes in the Yellowstone Geoecosystem. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1717, p. 95-126. Schullery, P., and Varley, J.D. (1995) Cutthroat Trout and the Yellowstone Ecosystem. p 12-23. In: Varley, JD, Schullery, P. (eds.) The Yellowstone Lake Crisis: Confronting a lake trout invasion. A report to the director of the National Park Service. Yellowstone National Park, WY Publications: D. Lovalvo, S. R. Clingenpeel, S. McGinnis, R. E. Macur, J. D. Varley, W. P. Inskeep, J. Glime, K. Nealson and T. R. McDermott. 2010. A geothermal-linked biological oasis in Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Geobiology 8:327?336. S. Clingenpeel, R.E. Macur, J. Kan, W.P. Inskeep, D. Lovalvo, J. Varley, E. Mathur, K. Nealson, Y. Gorby, H. Jiang, T. LaFracois, and T.R. McDermott. 2011. Yellowstone Lake: High Energy Geochemistry and Rich Bacterial Diversity. Manuscript Submitted. J. Kan, S. Clingenpeel, R.E. Macur, W.P. Inskeep, D. Lovalvo, J.D. Varley, Y. Gorby, T.R. McDermott and K. Nealson. 2011. Archaea in Yellowstone Lake. Manuscript submitted. S. Clingenpeel, J. Kan, R.E. Macur, W.P. Inskeep, D. Lovalvo, J.D. Varley, K. Nealson and T.R. McDermott. 2011. Nanoarchaeota in Yellowstone Lake: Diversity and evidence of non-extreme phylotypes. Manuscript submitted. W.P. Inskeep, R.E. Macur, A. Tenney, S. Clingenpeel, S. Yooseph, K. Nealson and T. McDermott. A metagenomic analysis of microbial streamers associated with lake floor vents in Yellowstone Lake. Manuscript in preparation. A. Tenney, S. Clingenpeel, R.E. Macur, S. Yooseph. K. Nealson and T. McDermott. A metagenomic analysis of the Yellowstone Lake microbial community. Manuscript in preparation.


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