Average microbial (bacterial and archaeal) community composition of groundwater sampled in Wellington.

These results were determined by sequencing bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA phylogenetic marker genes.

Bacteria, particularly Proteobacteria, dominate these groundwaters. Proteobacteria are a large phylum of gram-negative bacteria that have diverse metabolisms and are found within many environments. Numerous members are capable of metabolising and transforming nitrogen.

Facts about Archaea

Members include Thaumarchaeota which are major contributors to ammonia oxidation in these environments.

Archaea were originally classified with bacteria as prokaryotes, but this classification was a mistake as archaea have an independent evolutionary history and show many differences in their biochemistry from other forms of life. They now make up one of the three domains of life with bacteria and eukarya.

Fun fact

Archaea are best known for the ability of members to thrive in extreme environments, such as hot springs and salt lakes. Many can survive at temperatures over 80°C!