Montana State University

MSU paper on Yellowstone microbes one of most popular for 2013

February 25, 2014 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN –  A Montana State University article on Yellowstone National Park microorganisms was one of the 10 most popular last year in the journal, Frontiers in Microbiology.

The article, “The YNP Metagenome Project: Environmental Parameters Responsible for Microbial Distribution in the Yellowstone Geothermal Ecosystem,” ranked eighth in the journal’s list of most viewed microbiology research articles for 2013.

Lead author was William Inskeep in MSU’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and MSU’s Thermal Biology Institute. Among the co-authors was Zackary Jay, who has the same MSU affiliations.

The paper reported that the Yellowstone geothermal complex contains more than 10,000 features that host archaea, bacteria and viruses. Microbial communities that live in high temperatures are generally less diverse than soil, marine, sediment or lake habitats. Therefore, they offer a “tremendous study opportunity” for scientists examining genetic material recovered directly from the environment, an area of study known as environmental metagenomics.

One goal of the Yellowstone study was to establish links among microbial distribution, metabolic potential and environmental variables. To carry out the study, the researchers selected 20 ecosystems that represented a broad spectrum of hot spring environments.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or