Bacterial Diversity in Tree Canopies of the Atlantic Forest

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Science  30 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5782, pp. 1917
DOI: 10.1126/science.1124696

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We found an extraordinary level of bacterial biodiversity in the tree leaf canopy of a tropical Atlantic forest by using culture-independent molecular methods. Our survey suggests that each tree species selects for a distinct microbial community. Analysis of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences revealed that about 97% of the bacteria were unknown species and that the phyllosphere of any one tree species carries at least 95 to 671 bacterial species. The tree canopies of tropical forests likely represent a large reservoir of unexplored microbial diversity.

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