Evidence of plant and animal communities at exposed and subglacial (cave) geothermal sites in Antarctica

Evidence of plant and animal communities at exposed and subglacial (cave) geothermal sites in... Geothermal areas, such as volcanoes, might have acted as glacial microrefugia for a wide range of species. The heavily glaciated but volcanically active Antarctic continent presents an ideal system for assessing this hypothesis. Ice-free terrain around volcanoes in Antarctica is, however, often restricted to small patches, whereas subglacial cave systems, formed by vented volcanic steam, can be extensive and interconnected. No observations of macrobiota have yet been made for subglacial geothermal environments in Antarctica, but these organisms are often patchily distributed and can be difficult to find. We carried out metabarcoding (eDNA) analyses of soil samples taken from exposed areas on three volcanoes in Victoria Land, and subglacial caves on Mount Erebus. We found evidence of numerous eukaryotic groups, including mosses, algae, arthropods, oligochaetes and nematodes, at both exposed and subglacial sites. Our findings support the notion that geothermal areas—including subglacial environments—can nurture biodiversity in glaciated regions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Polar Biology Springer Journals

Evidence of plant and animal communities at exposed and subglacial (cave) geothermal sites in Antarctica

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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany
Subject
Life Sciences; Ecology; Oceanography; Microbiology; Plant Sciences; Zoology
ISSN
0722-4060
eISSN
1432-2056
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00300-017-2198-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Geothermal areas, such as volcanoes, might have acted as glacial microrefugia for a wide range of species. The heavily glaciated but volcanically active Antarctic continent presents an ideal system for assessing this hypothesis. Ice-free terrain around volcanoes in Antarctica is, however, often restricted to small patches, whereas subglacial cave systems, formed by vented volcanic steam, can be extensive and interconnected. No observations of macrobiota have yet been made for subglacial geothermal environments in Antarctica, but these organisms are often patchily distributed and can be difficult to find. We carried out metabarcoding (eDNA) analyses of soil samples taken from exposed areas on three volcanoes in Victoria Land, and subglacial caves on Mount Erebus. We found evidence of numerous eukaryotic groups, including mosses, algae, arthropods, oligochaetes and nematodes, at both exposed and subglacial sites. Our findings support the notion that geothermal areas—including subglacial environments—can nurture biodiversity in glaciated regions.

Journal

Polar BiologySpringer Journals

Published: Aug 17, 2017

References

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