Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of Soil and Hypolithic Microbial Communities in Miers Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

Wei, ST
Lacap-Bugler, DC
Lau, MC
Caruso, T
Rao, S
de Los Rios, A
Archer, SK
Chiu, JM
Higgins, C
Van Nostrand, JD
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Frontiers Media S.A.

The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are an extreme polar desert. Mineral soils support subsurface microbial communities and translucent rocks support development of hypolithic communities on ventral surfaces in soil contact. Despite significant research attention, relatively little is known about taxonomic and functional diversity or their inter-relationships. Here we report a combined diversity and functional interrogation for soil and hypoliths of the Miers Valley in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. The study employed 16S rRNA fingerprinting and high throughput sequencing combined with the GeoChip functional microarray. The soil community was revealed as a highly diverse reservoir of bacterial diversity dominated by actinobacteria. Hypolithic communities were less diverse and dominated by cyanobacteria. Major differences in putative functionality were that soil communities displayed greater diversity in stress tolerance and recalcitrant substrate utilization pathways, whilst hypolithic communities supported greater diversity of nutrient limitation adaptation pathways. A relatively high level of functional redundancy in both soil and hypoliths may indicate adaptation of these communities to fluctuating environmental conditions.

Antarctica , Dry Valleys , Geochip , Cyanobacteria , Hypolith , Soil
Frontiers of Microbiology, 7:1642. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01642
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© 2016 Wei, Lacap-Bugler, Lau, Caruso, Rao, de los Rios, Archer, Chiu, Higgins, Van Nostrand, Zhou, Hopkins and Pointing. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.