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Pessi I.S.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Pessi I.S.,University of Liège | Osorio-Forero C.,Research Group Microbial Ecology | Galvez E.J.,Research Group Microbial Ecology | And 5 more authors.
FEMS Microbiology Ecology | Year: 2015

Several studies have shown that microbial communities in Antarctic environments are highly diverse. However, considering that the Antarctic Peninsula is among the regions with the fastest warming rates, and that regional climate change has been linked to an increase in the mean rate of glacier retreat, the microbial diversity in Antarctic soil is still poorly understood. In this study, we analysed more than 40 000 sequences of the V5-V6 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene obtained by 454 pyrosequencing from four soil samples from the Wanda Glacier forefield, King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Phylotype diversity and richness were surprisingly high, and taxonomic assignment of sequences revealed that communities are dominated by Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Euryarchaeota, with a high frequency of archaeal and bacterial phylotypes unclassified at the genus level and without cultured representative strains, representing a distinct microbial community signature. Several phylotypes were related to marine microorganisms, indicating the importance of the marine environment as a source of colonizers for this recently deglaciated environment. Finally, dominant phylotypes were related to different microorganisms possessing a large array of metabolic strategies, indicating that early successional communities in Antarctic glacier forefield can be also functionally diverse. © FEMS 2015.

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