Marine bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic diversity and community structure on the continental shelf of the western Antarctic Peninsula
Luria, Catherine M.
Ducklow, Hugh W.
Amaral-Zettler, Linda A.
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The classic view of polar ocean foodwebs emphasizes large predators sustained by energy and material flow through short, efficient diatom-krill-predator food chains. Bacterial activity is generally low in cold polar waters compared to that at lower latitudes. This view appears to be changing, with new studies of microbial foodwebs in Arctic and Antarctic oceans. We characterized bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic community diversity and composition from 2 depths (near surface and below the euphotic zone) at 4 sites, including the inshore and offshore, and north and south corners of a sampling grid along the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). We detected up to 2-fold higher richness in microbial eukaryotes at surface and deep inshore northern stations as compared to southern stations, but offshore northern and southern stations revealed either no trend or higher richness at depth in the south. In contrast, bacterial and archaeal richness showed no significant differences either inshore or offshore at northern versus southern extents, but did vary with depth. Archaea were virtually absent in summer surface waters, but were present in summer deep and winter surface samples. Overall, winter bacterial and archaeal assemblages most closely resembled summer sub-euphotic zone assemblages, reflecting well-established seasonal patterns of water column turnover and stratification that result in an isolated layer of ‘winter water’ below the euphotic zone. Inter-domain heterotroph-phototroph interactions were evident from network analysis. The WAP is among the most rapidly warming regions on earth. Our results provide a baseline against which future change in microbial communities may be assessed.
Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Aquatic Microbial Ecology 73 (2014): 107-121, doi:10.3354/ame01703.