Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Abstract A saltern near La Baule (Bretagne, France) was remodeled in a programmable temperature and humidity controlled walk-in environmental chamber resembling the characteristics of the original saltern. The saltern showed different types of microbial mats predominantly composed of algae, oxy- and anoxyphotobacteria, and associated chemoorganotrophic bacteria, fungi and animals. Well-developed microbial mats were found up to a salinity of 10% during the three or four months in summer when salinity gradients and NaCl precipitation were established. The main phototrophic organisms were diatoms, the cyanobacteria Aphanothece, Microcoleus, Spirulina, and Oscillatoria, and Chromatiaceae. At higher salinity, Halobacterium sp., diatoms, and Dunaliella were dominant. Typical microbial mats and saltern-typical invertebrate, algal and bacterial species also developed in the saltern model, building up a stable community. The ionic composition of the brines and physicochemical parameters were similar to those determined for the original saltern. Different photosynthetic organisms, e.g. a filamentous purple bacterium and a hypersaline Chloroflexus-like organism, could be enriched within the microbial mats by changing the light regime.
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