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The impacts of deglaciation and human activity on the taxonomic structure of prokaryotic communities in Antarctic soils on King George Island

  • E.V. Pershina (a1) (a2), E.A. Ivanova (a1) (a2) (a3), E.V. Abakumov (a2) and E.E. Andronov (a1) (a2) (a3)

The soil microbiome was investigated at environmentally distinct locations on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands (Antarctic Peninsula) using 16 S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. The taxonomic composition of the soil prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) was evaluated at three sites representing human-disturbed soils (Bellingshausen Station) and soils undergoing different stages of deglaciation (fresh and old moraines located near Ecology Glacier). The taxonomic analysis revealed 20 bacterial and archaeal phyla, among which Proteobacteria (29.6%), Actinobacteria (25.3%), Bacteroidetes (15.8%), Cyanobacteria (11.2%), Acidobacteria (4.9%) and Verrucomicrobia (4.5%) comprised most of the microbiome. In a beta-diversity analysis, the samples formed separate clusters. The Bellingshausen Station samples were characterized by an increased amount of Nostoc sp. and Janibacter sp. Although the deglaciation history had less of an effect on the soil microbiome, the early stages of deglaciation (Sample 1) had a higher proportion of bacteria belonging to the families Xanthomonadaceae, Sphingomonadaceae and Nocardioidaceae, whereas the older moraines (Sample 2) were enriched with Chthoniobacteriacae and N1423WL. Solirubrobacteriales, Gaiellaceae and Chitinophagaceae bacteria were present in both stages of deglaciation, characterized by genus-level differences. Taxonomic analysis of the abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) revealed both endemic (Marisediminicola antarctica, Hymenobacter glaciei) and cosmopolitan bacterial species in the microbiomes.

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