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Ex-situ enzyme activity and bacterial community diversity through soil depth profiles in penguin and seal colonies on Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica



Ex-situ enzyme activity and bacterial community diversity through soil depth profiles in penguin and seal colonies on Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica



Polar Biology 36(9): 1347-1361



The soils impacted by sea animal excreta are important sources of nutrients in Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems, and soil microorganisms are the principal drivers of carbon and nitrogen cycling. However, microbial diversity and enzyme activities in these soils have still received little attention. In this paper, we investigated the distribution characteristics of bacterial community in four penguin and seal colony soil profiles collected in East Antarctica, using 16S rDNA-DGGE and real-time quantitative PCR. Soil microbial biomass carbon (Cmic), soil respiration (SR), and enzyme activities involved in carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus metabolisms were also measured. Overall soil Cmic, SR, enzyme activities, and bacterial abundance decreased with depth. The bacterial abundance had a significant correlation with soil organic carbon and total nitrogen and highly corresponded to the relative content of penguin guano or seal excreta in these soil profiles. The 16S rDNA-DGGE revealed the complicated bacterial community structure in penguin and seal colony soils, and the band richness and dominant bands decreased with soil depth. Cluster analysis of DGGE profiles indicated that bacterial community in those soil profiles were divided into four main categories with the bacterial genetic similarity of 22 %, and the majority of the sequenced bands were Proteobacteria ( , , ), Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Deinococcus-Thermus, Chloroflexi, and Firmicutes. Our results indicated that the deposition of penguin guano or seal excreta, which caused the variability in soil soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, pH, and soil moisture, might have an important effect on the vertical distribution pattern of bacterial abundance and diversity in Antarctic soil profiles.

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Accession: 036945412

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DOI: 10.1007/s00300-013-1355-z


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