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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 December; 63(12): 4729–4733.
PMCID: PMC168796

Phylogenetic diversity of Archaea in sediment samples from a coastal salt marsh.


The Archaea present in salt marsh sediment samples from a tidal creek and from an adjacent area of vegetative marshland, both of which showed active methanogenesis and sulfate reduction, were sampled by using 16S rRNA gene libraries created with Archaea-specific primers. None of the sequences were the same as reference sequences from cultured taxa, although some were closely related to sequences from methanogens previously isolated from marine sediments. A wide range of Euryarchaeota sequences were recovered, but no sequences from Methanococcus, Methanobacterium, or the Crenarchaeota were recovered. Clusters of closely related sequences were common and generally contained sequences from both sites, suggesting that some related organisms were present in both samples. Recovery of sequences closely related to those of methanogens such as Methanococcoides and Methanolobus, which can use substrates other than hydrogen, provides support for published hypotheses that such methanogens are probably important in sulfate-rich sediments and identifies some likely candidates. Sequences closely related to those of methanogens such as Methanoculleus and Methanogenium, which are capable of using hydrogen, were also discovered, in agreement with previous inhibitor and process measurements suggesting that these taxa are present at low levels of activity. More surprisingly, we recovered a variety of sequences closely related to those from different halophilic Archaea and a cluster of divergent sequences specifically related to the marine group II archaeal sequences recently shown by PCR and probing to have a cosmopolitan distribution in marine samples.

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