The total number of bacteria and culturable bacteria in Ade´lie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) guano was determined during 42 days of decomposition in a location adjacent to the rookery in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica. Of the culturable bacteria, 72 randomly selected colonies were described using 49 morpho-physiological tests, 27 of which were subsequently considered significant in ... characterizing and differentiating the isolates. On the basis of the nucleotide sequence of a fragment of the 16S rRNA
gene in each of 72 pure isolates, three major phylogenetic groups were identified, namely the Moraxellaceae/Pseudomonadaceae (29 isolates), the Flavobacteriaceae (14), and the Micrococcaceae (29). Grouping of the isolates on the basis of morpho-physiological tests (whether 49 or 27 parameters) showed similar results to those based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. Clusters were characterized
by considerable intra-cluster variation in both 16S rRNA gene sequences and morpho-physiological responses. High diversity in abundance and morphometry of total bacterial communities during penguin guano decomposition was supported by image analysis of epifluorescence micrographs. The results indicate that the bacterial community in penguin guano is not only one of the richest in Antarctica, but is extremely diverse, both phylogenetically and morpho-physiologically.
2004 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights