Characterization of airborne microbial communities at a high-elevation site and their potential to act as atmospheric ice nuclei

AMS Citation:
Bowers, R. M., C. L. Lauber, C. Wiedinmyer, M. Hamady, A. G. Hallar, R. Fall, R. Knight, and N. Fierer, 2009: Characterization of airborne microbial communities at a high-elevation site and their potential to act as atmospheric ice nuclei. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 75, 5121-5130, doi:10.1128/AEM.00447-09.
Date:2009-08-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Characterization of airborne microbial communities at a high-elevation site and their potential to act as atmospheric ice nuclei
Abstract: Bacteria and fungi are ubiquitous in the atmosphere. The diversity and abundance of airborne microbes may be strongly influenced by atmospheric conditions or even influence atmospheric conditions themselves by acting as ice nucleators. However, few comprehensive studies have described the diversity and dynamics of airborne bacteria and fungi based on culture-independent techniques. We document atmospheric microbial abundance, community composition, and ice nucleation at a high-elevation site in northwestern Colorado. We used a standard small-subunit rRNA gene Sanger sequencing approach for total microbial community analysis and a bacteria-specific 16S rRNA bar-coded pyrosequencing approach (4,864 sequences total). During the 2-week collection period, total microbial abundances were relatively constant, ranging from 9.6 x 10⁵ to 6.6 x 10⁶ cells m⁻³ of air, and the diversity and composition of the airborne microbial communities were also relatively static. Bacteria and fungi were nearly equivalent, and members of the proteobacterial groups Burkholderiales and Moraxellaceae (particularly the genus Psychrobacter) were dominant. These taxa were not always the most abundant in freshly fallen snow samples collected at this site. Although there was minimal variability in microbial abundances and composition within the atmosphere, the number of biological ice nuclei increased significantly during periods of high relative humidity. However, these changes in ice nuclei numbers were not associated with changes in the relative abundances of the most commonly studied ice-nucleating bacteria.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7j1046s
Publisher's Version: 10.1128/AEM.00447-09
Author(s):
  • Robert Bowers
  • Christian Lauber
  • Christine Wiedinmyer - NCAR/UCAR
  • Micah Hamady
  • Anna Hallar
  • Ray Fall
  • Rob Knight
  • Noah Fierer
  • Random Profile

    PROGRAMMER TECH

    Recent & Upcoming Visitors