Volume 1 of The Bulletin of BISMiS

Abstracts, where published, are given below.

Part 1 - December 2010 - download here


Comprehending microbial diversity: the fourth goal of microbial taxonomy

James T. Staley

The primary goals of microbial taxonomy are Nomenclature, Classification and Identification. This paper proposes that a fourth goal, Comprehending Microbial Diversity, be included along with these three traditional objectives of bacterial and archaeal taxonomy. There are two major reasons for this. First, microbiologists have only recently begun to recognize that a vast, unknown diversity of microbial life exists on Earth. Therefore, there are many thousands or perhaps millions of species of Bacteria and Archaea that have not yet been discovered, cultivated and named. The second reason is that microbiologists are still debating the meaning of what comprises a bacterial species. Evidence from molecular analyses indicates that the current bacterial species is much broader than that of plants and animals therefore suggesting that many more microbial species, at levels below that of the current species, are not yet recognized. For this reason, microbiologists are encouraged to work with botanists and zoologists to develop a universal species concept that would unify biology and make the species taxon more uniform. This paper discusses these areas, the study of which will lead to a fuller and better comprehension of the true diversity of microbial life. Bergey's International Society for Microbial Systematics is an organization that will enhance the ability of the global community of microbiologists to work together to more fully comprehend the full extent of Earth's microbial diversity.


The importance of phenotype for bacterial systematics

Peter Kämpfer

Over the last 30 years, the characterization and identification of prokaryotes has undergone a dramatic change. Nowadays, the first step in characterization is often the determination of the 16S rRNA gene sequence. Based on a computer-generated comparison of the 16S rRNA gene sequence with sequences from reference strains, it is possible to allocate an unknown to a taxonomic group, often to a genus, rarely to a species. Isolates, which may represent novel taxa (genera or species) are then further characterized in order to find additional markers which are different from those reported for already established taxa. In several cases, only a very restricted set of phenotypic differences is reported and hence the classification of novel taxa is based largely on the 16S rRNA gene sequence differences. Sometimes additional (housekeeping) gene sequence differences are also reported, which may be regarded as sufficient for the delineation of novel species or even genera. There is a current trend to delineate bacterial taxa more and more on the basis of the genotype. But only the phenotype shows what genetic information is expressed and hence the phenotype represents an additional important level of information. In the case of a strain or set of strains which may represent novel taxa, it is therefore still essential that they are characterized both genotypically and phenotypically as comprehensively as possible. Only the interplay between genetic and phenotypic data sets may provide a basis for an in-depth taxonomy of the prokaryotes.


Description of new yeast species - is one strain enough?

Cletus P. Kurtzman

The issue of description of new yeast species on the basis of a single strain is discussed. Single gene sequences, such as those from D1/D2 LSU rRNA, or sequences from ITS1/ITS2 are commonly used as the basis for recognizing new yeast species. Evidence is presented that hybrids and species with polymorphic gene sequences may not be recognized from a single gene analysis, but with multigene sequence comparisons, single-strain species can be accurately determined. Further, description of single-strain species will add to an understanding of yeast phylogeny and species diversity, which would be unknown if new species descriptions were limited to those taxa for which multiple strains were available.


Nomenclature of the Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta - current problems and proposed solutions

Aharon Oren and Jiri Komarek

This paper presents a report on the roundtable discussion on nomenclature of Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta that took place on 16 August 2010 during the 18th Symposium of the IAC in Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic. It highlights the current problems with the dual nomenclature system that have emerged as new taxa of Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta can be named under the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature or the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes. The report presents updates about the current attempts to harmonize the nomenclature of the Cyanobacteria/Cyanophyta under the two Codes.


Reminiscences and reflections

Don J. Brenner

Bergey's and me

John G. Holt

A life with some strange twists (mostly helical)

Noel R. Krieg

Reflections on microbial systematics

Peter H.A. Sneath