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Article: Functional ecology of an Antarctic Dry Valley

TitleFunctional ecology of an Antarctic Dry Valley
Authors
Issue Date2013
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.pnas.org
Citation
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013, v. 110 n. 22, p. 8990-8995 How to Cite?
AbstractThe McMurdo Dry Valleys are the largest ice-free region in Antarctica and are critically at risk from climate change. The terrestrial landscape is dominated by oligotrophic mineral soils and extensive exposed rocky surfaces where biota are largely restricted to microbial communities, although their ability to perform the majority of geobiological processes has remained largely uncharacterized. Here, we identified functional traits that drive microbial survival and community assembly, using a metagenomic approach with GeoChip-based functional gene arrays to establish metabolic capabilities in communities inhabiting soil and rock surface niches in McKelvey Valley. Major pathways in primary metabolism were identified, indicating significant plasticity in autotrophic, heterotrophic, and diazotrophic strategies supporting microbial communities. This represents a major advance beyond biodiversity surveys in that we have now identified how putative functional ecology drives microbial community assembly. Significant differences were apparent between open soil, hypolithic, chasmoendolithic, and cryptoendolithic communities. A suite of previously unappreciated Antarctic microbial stress response pathways, thermal, osmotic, and nutrient limitation responses were identified and related to environmental stressors, offering tangible clues to the mechanisms behind the enduring success of microorganisms in this seemingly inhospitable terrain. Rocky substrates exposed to larger fluctuations in environmental stress supported greater functional diversity in stress-response pathways than soils. Soils comprised a unique reservoir of genes involved in transformation of organic hydrocarbons and lignin-like degradative pathways. This has major implications for the evolutionary origin of the organisms, turnover of recalcitrant substrates in Antarctic soils, and predicting future responses to anthropogenic pollution.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/204788
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 9.423
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 6.883
PubMed Central ID
ISI Accession Number ID

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChan, Yen_US
dc.contributor.authorVan Nostrand, JDen_US
dc.contributor.authorZhou, Jen_US
dc.contributor.authorPointing, SBen_US
dc.contributor.authorFarrell, RLen_US
dc.date.accessioned2014-09-20T00:41:35Z-
dc.date.available2014-09-20T00:41:35Z-
dc.date.issued2013en_US
dc.identifier.citationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013, v. 110 n. 22, p. 8990-8995en_US
dc.identifier.issn0027-8424en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/204788-
dc.description.abstractThe McMurdo Dry Valleys are the largest ice-free region in Antarctica and are critically at risk from climate change. The terrestrial landscape is dominated by oligotrophic mineral soils and extensive exposed rocky surfaces where biota are largely restricted to microbial communities, although their ability to perform the majority of geobiological processes has remained largely uncharacterized. Here, we identified functional traits that drive microbial survival and community assembly, using a metagenomic approach with GeoChip-based functional gene arrays to establish metabolic capabilities in communities inhabiting soil and rock surface niches in McKelvey Valley. Major pathways in primary metabolism were identified, indicating significant plasticity in autotrophic, heterotrophic, and diazotrophic strategies supporting microbial communities. This represents a major advance beyond biodiversity surveys in that we have now identified how putative functional ecology drives microbial community assembly. Significant differences were apparent between open soil, hypolithic, chasmoendolithic, and cryptoendolithic communities. A suite of previously unappreciated Antarctic microbial stress response pathways, thermal, osmotic, and nutrient limitation responses were identified and related to environmental stressors, offering tangible clues to the mechanisms behind the enduring success of microorganisms in this seemingly inhospitable terrain. Rocky substrates exposed to larger fluctuations in environmental stress supported greater functional diversity in stress-response pathways than soils. Soils comprised a unique reservoir of genes involved in transformation of organic hydrocarbons and lignin-like degradative pathways. This has major implications for the evolutionary origin of the organisms, turnover of recalcitrant substrates in Antarctic soils, and predicting future responses to anthropogenic pollution.en_US
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherNational Academy of Sciences. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.pnas.orgen_US
dc.relation.ispartofProceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesen_US
dc.subject.meshBiological Evolutionen_US
dc.subject.meshEcosystemen_US
dc.subject.meshGenetic Variationen_US
dc.subject.meshSoil - analysisen_US
dc.subject.meshSoil Microbiologyen_US
dc.titleFunctional ecology of an Antarctic Dry Valleyen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailPointing, SB: pointing@hkucc.hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.authorityPointing, SB=rp00771en_US
dc.description.naturelink_to_OA_fulltexten_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1073/pnas.1300643110en_US
dc.identifier.pmid23671121en_US
dc.identifier.pmcidPMC3670347en_US
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84878467207-
dc.identifier.hkuros234288en_US
dc.identifier.volume110en_US
dc.identifier.issue22en_US
dc.identifier.spage8990en_US
dc.identifier.epage8995en_US
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000320500000062-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Statesen_US

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