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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-12
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-12
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Feb 2019

Research article | 15 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Role of Microbial Communities in the Weathering and Stalactite Formation in Karst Topography

Tung-Yi Huang1, Bing-Mu Hsu1,2,3, Cheng-Wei Fan1,*, Hsin-Chi Tsai4,5,*, Chien-Yi Tung6,7, and Jung-Sheng Chen1 Tung-Yi Huang et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, 168 University Road, Minhsiung Township, Chiayi County 62102, Taiwan
  • 2Center for Innovative on Aging Society, National Chung Cheng University, 168 University Road, Minhsiung Township, Chiayi County 62102, Taiwan
  • 3Center for Nano Bio-detection, National Chung Cheng University, 168 University Road, Minhsiung Township, Chiayi County 62102, Taiwan
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, 701, Sec. 3, Jhongyang Road. Hualien 97004, Taiwan
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Tzu-Chi General Hospital, 707, Sec. 3, Jhongyang Road. Hualien 97004, Taiwan
  • 6Caner Progression Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, 155, Li-Nong St., Sec.2, Beitou, Taipei, 11221, Taiwan
  • 7Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, National Yang-Ming University, 155, Li-Nong St., Sec.2, Beitou, Taipei, 11221, Taiwan
  • *Equal contribution to first author.

Abstract. This study investigated the long-term effect of environmental physical factors on the relative abundance of bacteria and the consequential landscape evolution in karst topography, focusing mainly on the effects of limestone weathering and calcite precipitation. The Narrow-Sky located in the upper part of Takangshan is a small gulch of Pleistocene coralline limestone formation in southern Taiwan. The landscapes were different in the karst walls between the opening and the inner of gulch due to the variation of physical parameters such as sunlight penetration, humidity, and temperature. A metagenomic approach was used out to determine the relationship of microbial community structures on the landscapes in various habitats around the gulch, namely on the inner and outer limestone wall, the water collected from speleothems surface, and the ground soil at the outer wall. The total organic carbon content was measured in solid samples to evaluate the biomass of the habitats. Our results showed that the biomass of habitats in the opening of the gulch was two times higher than the that inside where light penetration was lower. We also found that speleothems only occurred at the inner wall inside the gulch, where the environment exhibited water drips running through the surface of speleothems and less light penetration. The metagenomics in each habitat was surveyed to measure the sequence similarity of operational taxonomic units relative to urease-producing bacteria and weathering-associated bacteria available in the National Center for Biotechnology Information database. Our data revealed that the metagenomics of the inner wall and water samples exhibited more sequences that were similar to those of urease-producing bacteria, whereas the outer wall showed more sequences that were similar to those of weathering-associated bacteria, suggesting that bacteria facilitated the formation of limestone weathering and calcite precipitation for various habitats. This study revealed the pivotal roles of microorganisms in governing the geological evolution of the limestone landscape.

Tung-Yi Huang et al.
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Tung-Yi Huang et al.
Tung-Yi Huang et al.
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Short summary
This study surveyed the bacterial genetic material from environment around a limestone gulch, namely scrapes on speleothem surface, dripping water through speleothem, earth under a plan limestone wall, and scrapes from the plan wall. By the estimation of bioinformatics prediction, the relative abundance of bacteria inducing calcium precipitation in scrapes of speleothems and the water were about 100 times higher than the plan wall, while weathering related bacteria were plenty on the plan wall.
This study surveyed the bacterial genetic material from environment around a limestone gulch,...
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