Size and structure of microbial, fungal and nematode communities along an Antarctic environmental gradient.

E. Yergeau, S.F. Bokhorst, A.H.L. Huiskes, H.T.S. Boschker, R. Aerts, G.A. Kowalchuk

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The unusually harsh environmental conditions of terrestrial Antarctic habitats result in ecosystems with simplified trophic structures, where microbial processes are especially dominant as drivers of soil-borne nutrient cycling. We examined soil-borne Antarctic communities (bacteria, fungi and nematodes) at five locations along a southern latitudinal gradient from the Falkland Islands (51°S) to the base of the Antarctic Peninsula (72°S), and compared principally vegetated vs. fell-field locations at three of these sites. Results of molecular (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, real-time PCR), biochemical (ergosterol, phospholipid fatty acids) and traditional microbiological (temperature- and medium-related CFU) analyses were related to key soil and environmental properties. Microbial abundance generally showed a significant positive relationship with vegetation and vegetation-associated soil factors (e.g. water content, organic C, total N). Microbial community structure was mainly related to latitude or location and latitude-dependent factors (e.g. mean temperature, NO
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-451
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume59
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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