We studied the composition of archaeal and bacterial communities present in the sediment and plankton of a shallow suboxic-to-anoxic freshwater pond with high organic matter input, as an example of a kind of inland freshwater system widely distributed in forests of temperate regions. Molecular surveys based on small subunit rRNA genes showed a remarkably high diversity of lineages within the Bacteria, with a total of 18 phyla or candidate divisions being detected, in addition to a few highly divergent phylotypes of unknown affiliation. We identified members of the five subdivisions of the Proteobacteria, as well as Acidobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Planctomycetes, Bacteroidetes, Chlorobi, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Chloroflexi, Gemmatimonadetes, Spirochaetes, Fibrobacteres and the candidate divisions OD1, OP11, TM6, WS1, WS6 and Termite Group 1 ("Endobacteria"). Candidate division OD1 and beta-Proteobacteria were dominant in the environmental libraries of plankton and sediment, respectively. Archaea were also very diverse, but only members of the Euryarchaeota, including Methanosarcinales, Methanomicrobiales and some divergent lineages, were identified. The application of various species richness estimators confirmed the highly diverse nature of both plankton and sediment samples. The pond is a microbial-based complex ecosystem mainly fueled by the degradation of allochthonous organic matter that maintains tightly coupled carbon and sulfur cycles. © 2007 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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