Archaea Are Interactive Components of Complex Microbiomes
Recent findings have shaken our picture of the biology of the archaea and revealed novel traits beyond archaeal extremophily and supposed ‘primitiveness'. The archaea constitute a considerable fraction of the Earth's ecosystems, and their potential to shape their surroundings by a profound interaction with their biotic and abiotic environment has been recognized. Moreover, archaea have been identified as a substantial component, or even as keystone species, in complex microbiomes – in the environment or accompanying a holobiont. Species of the Euryarchaeota (methanogens, halophiles) and Thaumarchaeota, in particular, have the capacity to coexist in plant, animal, and human microbiomes, where syntrophy allows them to thrive under energy-deficiency stress. Due to methodological limitations, the archaeome remains mysterious, and many questions with respect to potential pathogenicity, function, and structural interactions with their host and other microorganisms remain.
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