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Diversity Of Microorganisms Within Rock Varnish In The Whipple Mountains, California

K. R. Kuhlman, W. G. Fusco, M. T. La Duc, L. B. Allenbach, C. L. Ball, G. M. Kuhlman, R. C. Anderson, I. K. Erickson, T. Stuecker, J. Benardini, J. L. Strap, R. L. Crawford

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ABSTRACT Rock varnish from Arizona's Whipple Mountains harbors a microbial community containing about 108 microorganisms g−1 of varnish. Analyses of varnish phospholipid fatty acids and rRNA gene libraries reveal a community comprised of mostly Proteobacteria but also including Actinobacteria, eukaryota, and a few members of the Archaea. Rock varnish represents a significant niche for microbial colonization.