Microscopic life in the saline soil of the Marismas del Odiel Natural Park

April 25, 2019

A University of Seville research group, led by the professor Antonio Ventosa, has, for the first time, studied and described the microbiome of saline soil in the Marismas del Odiel Natural Park. This research opens new perspectives in microbiome study of this type of environment, which can produce data on, among other aspects, possible climate alterations and other environmental factors in microbial populations.

It is estimated that saline soil and soil with salinity problems cover 2% of the world´s surface. Spain is one of the countries with the greatest area of this type of soil in Europe. Its wide distribution and the growing salinization of the soil due to irrigation practices and the processes of desertification means that research into the microbial community of these environments is vital for recovering soil affected by salinization due to agricultural use. In addition, it makes it possible to accurately predict how climate change will affect these communities and, therefore, the services that they provide to humans.

The research carried out at the University of Seville forms part of the doctoral studies of Blanca Vera Gargallo and was done in collaboration with the research group led by the teacher Janet K. Jansson from Pacific National Northwest Laboratory in the United States. It forms part of the international project Earth Microbiome Project (EMP), an open science project, which is collaborative and whose aim is to characterise the taxonomic diversity and microbial function of the diverse habitats that exist on our planet.

Massive sequencing techniques and data analysis methods were used in the study to analyse the composition of the microbial community in saline soil at different points in the Marismas del Odiel. The results, collected in the prestigious review Scientific Reports, published by Nature, show that microbial communities possess typically land-based characteristics, although they share other characteristics essential for life in hypersaline environments.

As well as salinity, other factors such as pH, humidity and the metals present in different points of the area are associated with changes in the microbial communities. Also, a proportion of the microorganisms in these soils are not related to any other organism previously known, and therefore this study opens the door to the identification of new microbial taxa and the characterisation of their role in land-based saline habitats.

As the authors of the article indicate, this research widens the horizon for the study of the microbiome in hypersaline land-based environments and proposes the need to carry out more exhaustive studies on the same. This work will make it possible to determine the important role that halophilic and halotolerant microorganisms play in these ecosystems and that of the possible climate alterations and other environmental factors in microbial populations.

Ventosa's research group has dedicated more than 30 years to the description of new bacteria and haloarchaea in hypersaline habitats, principally aquatic ones. With this project, they have begun the study of land-based hypersaline environments, to which less attention has been paid than to other hypersaline environments as they are more complex systems.

University of Seville

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.