Organisms that can grow in extreme conditions would be expected to be confined to extreme environments. However, we were able to capture highly productive communities of algae and bacteria capable of growing in acidic (pH 2), basic (pH 12) and saline (40 ppt) conditions from an ordinary freshwater lake. Microbial communities may thus include taxa that are highly productive in conditions that are far outside the range of conditions experienced in their host ecosystem. The organisms we captured were not obligate extremophiles, but were capable of growing in both extreme and benign conditions. The ability to grow in extreme conditions may thus be a common functional attribute in microbial communities.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3457491.
- Received July 1, 2016.
- Accepted August 10, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.