Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils

Cowan, Don A., Makhalanyane, Thulani P., Dennis, Paul G. and Hopkins, David W. (2014) Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils. Frontiers in Microbiology, 5 APR: . doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00154


Author Cowan, Don A.
Makhalanyane, Thulani P.
Dennis, Paul G.
Hopkins, David W.
Title Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils
Journal name Frontiers in Microbiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1664-302X
Publication date 2014-04
Year available 2014
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00154
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 5
Issue APR
Total pages 10
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract The Antarctica Dry Valleys are regarded as the coldest hyperarid desert system on Earth. While a wide variety of environmental stressors including very low minimum temperatures, frequent freeze-thaw cycles and low water availability impose severe limitations to life, suitable niches for abundant microbial colonization exist. Antarctic desert soils contain much higher levels of microbial diversity than previously thought. Edaphic niches, including cryptic and refuge habitats, microbial mats and permafrost soils all harbor microbial communities which drive key biogeochemical cycling processes. For example, lithobionts (hypoliths and endoliths) possess a genetic capacity for nitrogen and carbon cycling, polymer degradation, and other system processes. Nitrogen fixation rates of hypoliths, as assessed through acetylene reduction assays, suggest that these communities are a significant input source for nitrogen into these oligotrophic soils. Here we review aspects of microbial diversity in Antarctic soils with an emphasis on functionality and capacity. We assess current knowledge regarding adaptations to Antarctic soil environments and highlight the current threats to Antarctic desert soil communities.
Keyword Antarctica
Microbial ecology
Soil
Hypoliths
Nitrogen
Carbon
Adaptation
Threats and impacts
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article 154

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2015 Collection
 
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