Drop-size soda lakes: Transient microbial habitats on a salt-secreting desert tree

Noga Qvit-Raz, Edouard Jurkevitch, Shimshon Belkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We describe a hitherto unrecognized bacterial community, inhabiting the leaf surfaces of the salt-excreting desert tree Tamarix. High temperatures, strong radiation, and very low humidity dictate a daytime existence in complete desiccation, but damp nights allow the microbial population to proliferate in a sugar-rich, alkaline, and hypersaline solution, before drying up again after sunrise. The exclusively bacterial population contains many undescribed species and genera, but nevertheless appears to be characterized by relatively limited species diversity. Sequences of 16S rRNA genes from either isolates or total community DNA place the identified members of the community in five bacterial groups (Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, α-, and γ-Proteobacteria); in each of these, they concentrate in a very narrow branch that in most cases harbors organisms isolated from unrelated halophilic environments.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1615-1622
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


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