In order to determine the links between geochemical parameters controlling the formation of silica sinter in hot springs and their associated microbial diversity, a detailed characterisation of the waters and of in situ-grown silica sinters was combined with molecular phylogenetic analyses of the bacterial communities in Icelandic geothermal environments. At all but one site, the microorganisms clearly affected, and in part controlled, the formation of the macroscopic textures and structures of silica sinter edifices. In addition, the class and genera level phylogenetic diversity and distribution appeared to be closely linked to variations in temperature, salinity and pH regimes.

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