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Sample records for arctic microbial ecosystems

  1. Ice Shelf Microbial Ecosystems in the High Arctic and Implications for Life on Snowball Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vincent, W. F.; Gibson, J. A. E.; Pienitz, R.; Villeneuve, V.; Broady, P. A.; Hamilton, P. B.; Howard-Williams, C.

    The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf (83°N, 74°W) is the largest remaining section of thick (>10m) landfast sea ice along the northern coastline of Ellesmere Island, Canada. Extensive meltwater lakes and streams occur on the surface of the ice and are colonized by photosynthetic microbial mat communities. This High Arctic cryo-ecosystem is similar in several of its physical, biological and geochemical features to the McMurdo Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The ice-mats in both polar regions are dominated by filamentous cyanobacteria but also contain diatoms, chlorophytes, flagellates, ciliates, nematodes, tardigrades and rotifers. The luxuriant Ward Hunt consortia also contain high concentrations (107-108cm-2) of viruses and heterotrophic bacteria. During periods of extensive ice cover, such as glaciations during the Proterozoic, cryotolerant mats of the type now found in these polar ice shelf ecosystems would have provided refugia for the survival, growth and evolution of a variety of organisms, including multicellular eukaryotes.

  2. Arctic terrestrial ecosystem contamination.

    PubMed

    Thomas, D J; Tracey, B; Marshall, H; Norstrom, R J

    1992-07-15

    Limited data have been collected on the presence of contaminants in the Arctic terrestrial ecosystem, with the exception of radioactive fallout from atmospheric weapons testing. Although southern and temperate biological systems have largely cleansed themselves of radioactive fallout deposited during the 1950s and 1960s, Arctic environments have not. Lichens accumulate radioactivity more than many other plants because of their large surface area and long life span; the presence and persistence of radioisotopes in the Arctic is of concern because of the lichen----reindeer----human ecosystem. Effective biological half-life of cesium 137 is reckoned to be substantially less than its physical half-life. The database on organochlorines in Canadian Arctic terrestrial mammals and birds is very limited, but indications are that the air/plant/animal contaminant pathway is the major route of these compounds into the terrestrial food chain. For terrestrial herbivores, the most abundant organochlorine is usually hexachlorobenzene followed by hexachlorocyclohexane isomers. PCB accumulation favours the hexachlorobiphenyl, pentachlorobiphenyl and heptachlorobiphenyl homologous series. The concentrations of the various classes of organochlorine compounds are substantially lower in terrestrial herbivore tissues than in marine mammal tissues. PCBs and DDT are the most abundant residues in peregrine falcons (a terrestrial carnivore) reaching average levels of 9.2 and 10.4 micrograms.g-1, respectively, more than 10 times higher than other organochlorines and higher than in marine mammals, including the polar bear. Contaminants from local sources include metals from mining activities, hydrocarbons and waste drilling fluids from oil and gas exploration and production, wastes from DEW line sites, naturally occurring radionuclides associated with uranium mineralization, and smoke containing SO2 and H2SO4 aerosol from the Smoking Hills at Cape Bathurst, N.W.T.

  3. Arctic Ecosystem Integrated Survey (Arctic Eis): Marine ecosystem dynamics in the rapidly changing Pacific Arctic Gateway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mueter, Franz J.; Weems, Jared; Farley, Edward V.; Sigler, Michael F.

    2017-01-01

    Arctic Marine Ecosystems are undergoing rapid changes associated with ice loss and surface warming resulting from human activities (IPCC, 2013). The most dramatic changes include an earlier ice retreat and a longer ice-free season, particularly on Arctic inflow shelves such as the Barents Sea in the Atlantic Arctic and the northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea in the Pacific Arctic, the two major gateways into the Arctic (Danielson et al., 2016; Frey et al., 2015; Serreze et al., 2007; Wood et al., 2015). The retreat of Arctic sea ice has opened access to the Arctic marine environment and its resources, particularly during summer, and among other changes has brought with it increased research activities. For the Pacific Arctic region, these activities have led to several recent compendiums examining physical, biogeochemical, and biological patterns and trends in this rapidly changing environment (Arrigo, 2015, 2016; Arrigo et al., 2014; Bluhm et al., 2010; Dunton et al., 2014; Grebmeier and Maslowski, 2014; Hopcroft and Day, 2013; Moore and Stabeno, 2015).

  4. Tipping elements in the Arctic marine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Duarte, Carlos M; Agustí, Susana; Wassmann, Paul; Arrieta, Jesús M; Alcaraz, Miquel; Coello, Alexandra; Marbà, Núria; Hendriks, Iris E; Holding, Johnna; García-Zarandona, Iñigo; Kritzberg, Emma; Vaqué, Dolors

    2012-02-01

    The Arctic marine ecosystem contains multiple elements that present alternative states. The most obvious of which is an Arctic Ocean largely covered by an ice sheet in summer versus one largely devoid of such cover. Ecosystems under pressure typically shift between such alternative states in an abrupt, rather than smooth manner, with the level of forcing required for shifting this status termed threshold or tipping point. Loss of Arctic ice due to anthropogenic climate change is accelerating, with the extent of Arctic sea ice displaying increased variance at present, a leading indicator of the proximity of a possible tipping point. Reduced ice extent is expected, in turn, to trigger a number of additional tipping elements, physical, chemical, and biological, in motion, with potentially large impacts on the Arctic marine ecosystem.

  5. Microbial Analysis of Arctic Snow and Frost Flowers: What Next Generation Sequencing Method Can Reveal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mortazavi, R.; Attiya, S.; Ariya, P. A.

    2014-12-01

    We herein examined and identified the population of the microbial communities of Arctic snow types and frost flower during the spring 2009 campaign of the Ocean-Atmosphere-Sea Ice-Snowpack (OASIS) program in Barrow, Alaska, USA. In addition to conventional microbial identification techniques (culture-isolation-PCR amplification-sequencing) we deployed a state-of-the-art genomic Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technique to examine the true bacterial communities in Arctic samples. Our results have indicated that diverse community of microbial exists in Arctic with many originating from distinct ecological environment. The alterations observed in the texture of Arctic samples by microbial has further signified their importance in ecosystem.

  6. Changing Arctic ecosystems: ecology of loons in a changing Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Uher-Koch, Brian; Schmutz, Joel; Whalen, Mary; Pearce, John M.

    2014-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative informs key resource management decisions for Arctic Alaska by providing scientific information on current and future ecosystem response to a changing climate. From 2010 to 2014, a key study area for the USGS CAE initiative has been the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska. This region has experienced rapid warming during the past 30 years, leading to the thawing of permafrost and changes to lake and river systems. These changes, and projections of continued change, have raised questions about effects on wildlife populations that rely on northern lake ecosystems, such as loons. Loons rely on freshwater lakes for nesting habitat and the fish and invertebrates inhabiting the lakes for food. Loons live within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Alaska’s northern coast, where oil and gas development is expected to increase. Research by the USGS examines how breeding loons use the Arctic lake ecosystem and the capacity of loons to adapt to future landscape change.

  7. Nutrient Limitation of Microbial Mediated Decomposition and Arctic Soil Chronology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melle, C. J.; Darrouzet-Nardi, A.; Wallenstein, M. D.

    2012-12-01

    Soils of northern permafrost regions currently contain twice as much carbon as the entire Earth's atmosphere. Traditionally, environmental constraints have limited microbial activity resulting in restricted decomposition of soil organic matter in these systems and accumulation of massive amounts of soil organic carbon (SOC), however climate change is reducing the constraints of decomposition in arctic permafrost regions. Carbon cycling in nutrient poor, arctic ecosystems is tightly coupled to other biogeochemical cycles. Several studies have suggested strong nitrogen limitations of primary productivity and potentially warm-season microbial activity in these nutrient deficient soils. Nitrogen is required for microbial extracellular enzyme production which drives the decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM). Nitrogen limited arctic soils may also experience limitation via labile carbon availability despite the SOM rich environment due to low extracellular enzyme production. Few studies have directly addressed nutrient induced microbial limitation in SOC rich arctic tundra soils, and even less is known about the potential for nutrient co-limitation. Additionally, through the process of becoming deglaciated, sites within close proximity to one another may have experienced drastic differences in their effective soil ages due to the varied length of their active histories. Many soil properties and nutrient deficiencies are directly related to soil age, however this chronology has not previously been a focus of research on nutrient limitation of arctic soil microbial activity. Understanding of nutrient limitations, as well as potential co-limitation, on arctic soil microbial activity has important implications for carbon cycling and the ultimate fate of the current arctic SOC reservoir. Analyses of nutrient limitation on soils of a single site are not adequate for fully understanding the controls on soil microbial activity across a vast land mass with large variation in

  8. Biogeochemical Processes in Microbial Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, David J.

    2001-01-01

    The hierarchical organization of microbial ecosystems determines process rates that shape Earth's environment, create the biomarker sedimentary and atmospheric signatures of life, and define the stage upon which major evolutionary events occurred. In order to understand how microorganisms have shaped the global environment of Earth and, potentially, other worlds, we must develop an experimental paradigm that links biogeochemical processes with ever-changing temporal and spatial distributions of microbial populations and their metabolic properties. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  9. Arctic permafrost: Microbial lid on subsea methane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thornton, Brett F.; Crill, Patrick

    2015-08-01

    Submarine permafrost thaw in the Arctic has been suggested as a trigger for the release of large quantities of methane to the water column, and subsequently the atmosphere -- with important implications for global warming. Now research shows that microbial oxidation of methane at the thaw front can effectively prevent its release.

  10. Planning the Next Generation of Arctic Ecosystem Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wullschleger, Stan D.; Hinzman, Larry D.; Wilson, Cathy J.

    2011-04-01

    Climate Change Experiments in High-Latitude Ecosystems; Fairbanks, Alaska, 13-14 October 2010 ; A 2-day climate change workshop was held at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. The workshop, sponsored by Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was attended by 45 subject matter experts from universities, DOE national laboratories, and other federal and nongovernmental organizations. The workshop sought to engage the Arctic science community in planning for a proposed Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE-Arctic) project in Alaska (http://ngee.ornl.gov/). The goal of this activity is to provide data, theory, and models to improve representations of high-latitude terrestrial processes in Earth system models. In particular, there is a need to better understand the processes by which warming may drive increased plant productivity and atmospheric carbon uptake and storage in biomass and soils, as well as those processes that may drive an increase in the release of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) through microbial decomposition of soil carbon stored in thawing permafrost. This understanding is required to quantify the important feedback mechanisms that define the role of terrestrial processes in regional and global climate.

  11. Planning the Next Generation of Arctic Ecosystem Experiments

    SciTech Connect

    Hinzman, Larry D; Wilson, Cathy

    2011-01-01

    Climate Change Experiments in High-Latitude Ecosystems; Fairbanks, Alaska, 13-14 October 2010; A 2-day climate change workshop was held at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. The workshop, sponsored by Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was attended by 45 subject matter experts from universities, DOE national laboratories, and other federal and nongovernmental organizations. The workshop sought to engage the Arctic science community in planning for a proposed Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE-Arctic) project in Alaska (http:// ngee.ornl.gov/). The goal of this activity is to provide data, theory, and models to improve representations of high-latitude terrestrial processes in Earth system models. In particular, there is a need to better understand the processes by which warming may drive increased plant productivity and atmospheric carbon uptake and storage in biomass and soils, as well as those processes that may drive an increase in the release of methane (CH{sub 4}) and carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) through microbial decomposition of soil carbon stored in thawing permafrost. This understanding is required to quantify the important feedback mechanisms that define the role of terrestrial processes in regional and global climate.

  12. Synthetic microbial ecosystems for biotechnology.

    PubMed

    Pandhal, Jagroop; Noirel, Josselin

    2014-06-01

    Most highly controlled and specific applications of microorganisms in biotechnology involve pure cultures. Maintaining single strain cultures is important for industry as contaminants can reduce productivity and lead to longer "down-times" during sterilisation. However, microbes working together provide distinct advantages over pure cultures. They can undertake more metabolically complex tasks, improve efficiency and even expand applications to open systems. By combining rapidly advancing technologies with ecological theory, the use of microbial ecosystems in biotechnology will inevitably increase. This review provides insight into the use of synthetic microbial communities in biotechnology by applying the engineering paradigm of measure, model, manipulate and manufacture, and illustrate the emerging wider potential of the synthetic ecology field. Systems to improve biofuel production using microalgae are also discussed.

  13. [Energy flow in arctic aquatic ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1985-01-01

    This study is aimed at determining the major pathways of energy flow in freshwater ecosystems of the Alaskan arctic coastal plain. Selected sites for study of the processes supplying energy to streams and lakes to verify the generality of past findings will be surveyed for collection of organisms including the Colville River drainage and the lake region around Teshekpuk Lake. Specific objectives are to collect food web apex organisms (fish and birds) from a variety of sites in the coastal plain to verify descriptive models of ecosystem structure and food web pathways and to compare the utilization rates by insect larvae of fresh litter and in situ primary production relative to more refractory peaty materials through seasonal sampling for isotopic analysis.

  14. [Energy flow in arctic aquatic ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1985-12-31

    This study is aimed at determining the major pathways of energy flow in freshwater ecosystems of the Alaskan arctic coastal plain. Selected sites for study of the processes supplying energy to streams and lakes to verify the generality of past findings will be surveyed for collection of organisms including the Colville River drainage and the lake region around Teshekpuk Lake. Specific objectives are to collect food web apex organisms (fish and birds) from a variety of sites in the coastal plain to verify descriptive models of ecosystem structure and food web pathways and to compare the utilization rates by insect larvae of fresh litter and in situ primary production relative to more refractory peaty materials through seasonal sampling for isotopic analysis.

  15. Arctic mosses govern below-ground environment and ecosystem processes.

    PubMed

    Gornall, J L; Jónsdóttir, I S; Woodin, S J; Van der Wal, R

    2007-10-01

    Mosses dominate many northern ecosystems and their presence is integral to soil thermal and hydrological regimes which, in turn, dictate important ecological processes. Drivers, such as climate change and increasing herbivore pressure, affect the moss layer thus, assessment of the functional role of mosses in determining soil characteristics is essential. Field manipulations conducted in high arctic Spitsbergen (78 degrees N), creating shallow (3 cm), intermediate (6 cm) and deep (12 cm) moss layers over the soil surface, had an immediate impact on soil temperature in terms of both average temperatures and amplitude of fluctuations. In soil under deep moss, temperature was substantially lower and organic layer thaw occurred 4 weeks later than in other treatment plots; the growing season for vascular plants was thereby reduced by 40%. Soil moisture was also reduced under deep moss, reflecting the influence of local heterogeneity in moss depth, over and above the landscape-scale topographic control of soil moisture. Data from field and laboratory experiments show that moss-mediated effects on the soil environment influenced microbial biomass and activity, resulting in warmer and wetter soil under thinner moss layers containing more plant-available nitrogen. In arctic ecosystems, which are limited by soil temperature, growing season length and nutrient availability, spatial and temporal variation in the depth of the moss layer has significant repercussions for ecosystem function. Evidence from our mesic tundra site shows that any disturbance causing reduction in the depth of the moss layer will alleviate temperature and moisture constraints and therefore profoundly influence a wide range of ecosystem processes, including nutrient cycling and energy transfer.

  16. Changing Arctic ecosystems--research to understand and project changes in marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Geiselman, Joy; DeGange, Anthony R.; Oakley, Karen; Derksen, Dirk; Whalen, Mary

    2012-01-01

    Ecosystems and their wildlife communities are not static; they change and evolve over time due to numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors. A period of rapid change is occurring in the Arctic for which our current understanding of potential ecosystem and wildlife responses is limited. Changes to the physical environment include warming temperatures, diminishing sea ice, increasing coastal erosion, deteriorating permafrost, and changing water regimes. These changes influence biological communities and the ways in which human communities interact with them. Through the new initiative Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) strives to (1) understand the potential suite of wildlife population responses to these physical changes to inform key resource management decisions such as those related to the Endangered Species Act, and (2) provide unique insights into how Arctic ecosystems are responding under new stressors. Our studies examine how and why changes in the ice-dominated ecosystems of the Arctic are affecting wildlife and will provide a better foundation for understanding the degree and manner in which wildlife species respond and adapt to rapid environmental change. Changes to Arctic ecosystems will be felt broadly because the Arctic is a production zone for hundreds of species that migrate south for the winter. The CAE initiative includes three major research themes that span Arctic ice-dominated ecosystems and that are structured to identify and understand the linkages between physical processes, ecosystems, and wildlife populations. The USGS is applying knowledge-based modeling structures such as Bayesian Networks to integrate the work.

  17. Microbial diversity drives multifunctionality in terrestrial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Maestre, Fernando T; Reich, Peter B; Jeffries, Thomas C; Gaitan, Juan J; Encinar, Daniel; Berdugo, Miguel; Campbell, Colin D; Singh, Brajesh K

    2016-01-28

    Despite the importance of microbial communities for ecosystem services and human welfare, the relationship between microbial diversity and multiple ecosystem functions and services (that is, multifunctionality) at the global scale has yet to be evaluated. Here we use two independent, large-scale databases with contrasting geographic coverage (from 78 global drylands and from 179 locations across Scotland, respectively), and report that soil microbial diversity positively relates to multifunctionality in terrestrial ecosystems. The direct positive effects of microbial diversity were maintained even when accounting simultaneously for multiple multifunctionality drivers (climate, soil abiotic factors and spatial predictors). Our findings provide empirical evidence that any loss in microbial diversity will likely reduce multifunctionality, negatively impacting the provision of services such as climate regulation, soil fertility and food and fibre production by terrestrial ecosystems.

  18. Microbial diversity drives multifunctionality in terrestrial ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Maestre, Fernando T.; Reich, Peter B.; Jeffries, Thomas C.; Gaitan, Juan J.; Encinar, Daniel; Berdugo, Miguel; Campbell, Colin D.; Singh, Brajesh K.

    2016-01-01

    Despite the importance of microbial communities for ecosystem services and human welfare, the relationship between microbial diversity and multiple ecosystem functions and services (that is, multifunctionality) at the global scale has yet to be evaluated. Here we use two independent, large-scale databases with contrasting geographic coverage (from 78 global drylands and from 179 locations across Scotland, respectively), and report that soil microbial diversity positively relates to multifunctionality in terrestrial ecosystems. The direct positive effects of microbial diversity were maintained even when accounting simultaneously for multiple multifunctionality drivers (climate, soil abiotic factors and spatial predictors). Our findings provide empirical evidence that any loss in microbial diversity will likely reduce multifunctionality, negatively impacting the provision of services such as climate regulation, soil fertility and food and fibre production by terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:26817514

  19. Microbial cell retention in a melting High Arctic snowpack, Svalbard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarsky, Jakub; Björkman, Mats; Kühnel, Rafael; Hell, Katherina; Hodson, Andy; Sattler, Birgit; Psenner, Roland

    2014-05-01

    Introduction The melting snow pack represents a highly dynamic system not only for chemical compounds but also for bacterial cells. Microbial activity was found at subzero temperatures in ice veins when liquid water persists due to high concentration of ions on the surface of snow crystals and brine channels between large ice crystals in ice. Several observations also suggest microbial activity under subzero temperatures in seasonal snow. Even with regard to the spatial and temporal relevance of snow ecosystems, microbial activity in such an extreme habitat represents a relatively small proportion in the carbon flux of the global ecosystem and even of the glacial ecosystems specifically. On the other hand, it represents a remarkable piece of mosaic of the microbial activity in glacial ecosystems because the snow pack represents the first contact between the atmosphere and cryosphere. This topic also embodies vital crossovers to biogeochemistry and ecotoxicology, offering a quantitative view of utilization of various substrates relevant for downstream ecosystems. Here we present our study of the dynamics of both solvents and cells suspended in meltwater of the melting snowpack on a high arctic glacier to demonstrate the spatio-temporal constraint of interaction between solvent and bacterial cells in this environment. Method We used 6 lysimeters inserted into the bottom of the snowpack to collect replicated samples of melt water before it comes into contact with basal ice or slush layer at the base of the snow pack. The sampling site was chosen at Midre Lovénbreen (Svalbard, Kongsfjorden, MLB stake 6) where the snow pack showed melting on the surface but the basal ice was still dry. Sampling was conducted in June 2010 for a period of 10 days once per day and the snow profile was sampled according to distinguished layers in the profile at the beginning of the field mission and as bulk at its end. The height of snow above the lysimeters dropped from the initial 74 cm

  20. Toward understanding, managing, and protecting microbial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bodelier, Paul L E

    2011-01-01

    Microbial communities are at the very basis of life on earth, catalyzing biogeochemical reactions driving global nutrient cycles. However, unlike for plants and animals, microbial diversity is not on the biodiversity-conservation agenda. The latter, however, would imply that microbial diversity is not under any threat by anthropogenic disturbance or climate change. This maybe a misconception caused by the rudimentary knowledge we have concerning microbial diversity and its role in ecosystem functioning. This perspective paper identifies major areas with knowledge gaps within the field of environmental microbiology that preclude a comprehension of microbial ecosystems on the level we have for plants and animals. Opportunities and challenges are pointed out to open the microbial black box and to go from descriptive to predictive microbial ecology.

  1. Toward Understanding, Managing, and Protecting Microbial Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bodelier, Paul L. E.

    2011-01-01

    Microbial communities are at the very basis of life on earth, catalyzing biogeochemical reactions driving global nutrient cycles. However, unlike for plants and animals, microbial diversity is not on the biodiversity–conservation agenda. The latter, however, would imply that microbial diversity is not under any threat by anthropogenic disturbance or climate change. This maybe a misconception caused by the rudimentary knowledge we have concerning microbial diversity and its role in ecosystem functioning. This perspective paper identifies major areas with knowledge gaps within the field of environmental microbiology that preclude a comprehension of microbial ecosystems on the level we have for plants and animals. Opportunities and challenges are pointed out to open the microbial black box and to go from descriptive to predictive microbial ecology. PMID:21747797

  2. Pollutant effects on the microbial ecosystem.

    PubMed Central

    Ford, T

    1994-01-01

    Genetic diversity of a microbial community will inevitably be affected by environmental stress. However, our understanding of the implications of these effects is limited. Genetic exchange between natural microbial communities appears to be a common phenomenon, mediated by a number of microbial processes (conjugation, transformation, and transduction). These mechanisms of change are presumably adaptations to natural environmental perturbation, e.g., the low levels of antibiotics produced by other organisms. However, anthropogenic influences on the environment may be accelerating genetic change within microbiologic ecosystems, beyond these natural adaptation rates. This article highlights some of the perceived risks to ecosystem health and research questions that need to be addressed. PMID:7713033

  3. Impacts of Climate and UV Change on Arctic Freshwater Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wrona, F. J.; Prowse, T. D.; Reist, J. D.

    2004-05-01

    An overview is provided of the key findings of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), which is an international project of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), to evaluate and synthesize knowledge on climate variability, climate change, and increased ultraviolet radiation and their consequences. Predicted changes in climate and UV in the Arctic are expected to have far-reaching impacts on the hydrology and ecology of freshwater ecosystems. Key effects include changes in the distribution, abundance and ecology of aquatic species in various trophic levels, dramatic alterations in the physical environment that makes up their habitat, changes to the chemical properties of that environment, and alterations to the processes that act on and within freshwater ecosystems. Interactions of climatic variables, such as temperature and precipitation, with freshwater ecosystems are highly complex and hence can be propagated through ecosystems in ways that are often difficult to predict. This is partly because of our still relatively poor understanding of the structure and function of arctic freshwater systems and their basic interrelationships with climate and other environmental variables, as well as by a paucity of long-term freshwater monitoring sites and integrated hydro-ecological research programs in the Arctic. Predictions of hydro-ecological impacts are further complicated by synergistic and cumulative effects.

  4. Potent toxins in Arctic environments--presence of saxitoxins and an unusual microcystin variant in Arctic freshwater ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Kleinteich, Julia; Wood, Susanna A; Puddick, Jonathan; Schleheck, David; Küpper, Frithjof C; Dietrich, Daniel

    2013-11-25

    Cyanobacteria are the predominant phototrophs in freshwater ecosystems of the polar regions where they commonly form extensive benthic mats. Despite their major biological role in these ecosystems, little attention has been paid to their physiology and biochemistry. An important feature of cyanobacteria from the temperate and tropical regions is the production of a large variety of toxic secondary metabolites. In Antarctica, and more recently in the Arctic, the cyanobacterial toxins microcystin and nodularin (Antarctic only) have been detected in freshwater microbial mats. To date other cyanobacterial toxins have not been reported from these locations. Five Arctic cyanobacterial communities were screened for saxitoxin, another common cyanobacterial toxin, and microcystins using immunological, spectroscopic and molecular methods. Saxitoxin was detected for the first time in cyanobacteria from the Arctic. In addition, an unusual microcystin variant was identified using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Gene expression analyses confirmed the analytical findings, whereby parts of the sxt and mcy operon involved in saxitoxin and microcystin synthesis, were detected and sequenced in one and five of the Arctic cyanobacterial samples, respectively. The detection of these compounds in the cryosphere improves the understanding of the biogeography and distribution of toxic cyanobacteria globally. The sequences of sxt and mcy genes provided from this habitat for the first time may help to clarify the evolutionary origin of toxin production in cyanobacteria.

  5. Soil Biota and Litter Decay in High Arctic Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González, G.; Rivera, F.; Makarova, O.; Gould, W. A.

    2006-12-01

    Frost heave action contributes to the formation of non-sorted circles in the High Arctic. Non-sorted circles tend to heave more than the surrounding tundra due to deeper thaw and the formation of ice lenses. Thus, the geomorphology, soils and vegetation on the centers of the patterned-ground feature (non-sorted circles) as compared to the surrounding soils (inter-circles) can be different. We established a decomposition experiment to look at in situ decay rates of the most dominant graminoid species on non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle soils along a climatic gradient in the Canadian High Arctic as a component of a larger study looking at the biocomplexity of small-featured patterned ground ecosystems. Additionally, we investigated variation in soil chemical properties and biota, including soil microarthropods and microbial composition and biomass, as they relate to climate, topographic position, and litter decay rates. Our three sites locations, from coldest to warmest, are Isachsen, Ellef Ringnes Island (ER), NU (bioclimatic subzone A); Mould Bay (MB), Prince Patrick Island, NT (bioclimatic subzone B), and Green Cabin (GC), Aulavik National Park, Thomsen River, Banks Island, NT (bioclimatic subzone C). Our sample design included the selection of 15 non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle areas within the zonal vegetation at each site (a total of 90 sites), and a second set of 3 non-sorted circles and adjacent inter-circle areas in dry, mesic and wet tundra at each of the sites. Soil invertebrates were sampled at each site using both pitfall traps, soil microbial biomass was determined using substrate induced respiration and bacterial populations were determined using the most probable number method. Decomposition rates were measured using litterbags and as the percent of mass remaining of Carex misandra, Luzula nivalis and Alopecuris alpinus in GC, MB and ER, respectively. Our findings indicate these graminoid species decayed significantly over

  6. Feedbacks Between Microenvironment and Plant Functional Type and Implications for CO2 Flux in Arctic Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Squires, E.; Rodenheizer, H.; Natali, S.; Mann, P.

    2013-12-01

    Future climate models predict a warmer, drier Arctic, with resultant shifts in vegetative composition and implications for ecosystem carbon budgets. The impact of vegetation change, however, may depend on which plant functional groups are favored in a warming Arctic. Physiological and functional differences between plant groups influence both the local microenvironment and, on a broader scale, whole-ecosystem CO2 flux. We examined the interactions between plants and their microenvironment, and analyzed the effect of these interactions on both soil microbial communities and CO2 flux across different functional groups. Physical and biological aspects of the microenvironment differed between plant functional groups. Lichen patches were characterized by deeper thaw depths, lower soil moisture, greater thermal conductivity, and a thinner organic layer than mosses. To better understand the development of these plant-environment interactions, we conducted a reciprocal transplant experiment, switching multiple lichen and moss patches. Temporal changes in environmental parameters at these sites will demonstrate how different plants modify their environment and will help identify associated implications for soil microbial communities and CO2 flux. We measured CO2 flux and used Biolog assays to examine soil microbial communities in undisturbed patches of mosses, lichens, and shrubs. Patches of birch shrubs had more negative net ecosystem exchange, signifying a carbon sink. Soils from alder shrubs and mosses hosted more active microbial communities than soils under birch shrubs and lichens. These results suggest a strong link between environment, plant functional type, and C cycling. Understanding how this relationship differs among plant functional types is an important part of predicting ecosystem carbon budgets as Arctic vegetation composition shifts in response to climate change.

  7. The Dynamic Arctic Snow Pack: An Unexplored Environment for Microbial Diversity and Activity

    PubMed Central

    Larose, Catherine; Dommergue, Aurélien; Vogel, Timothy M.

    2013-01-01

    The Arctic environment is undergoing changes due to climate shifts, receiving contaminants from distant sources and experiencing increased human activity. Climate change may alter microbial functioning by increasing growth rates and substrate use due to increased temperature. This may lead to changes of process rates and shifts in the structure of microbial communities. Biodiversity may increase as the Arctic warms and population shifts occur as psychrophilic/psychrotolerant species disappear in favor of more mesophylic ones. In order to predict how ecological processes will evolve as a function of global change, it is essential to identify which populations participate in each process, how they vary physiologically, and how the relative abundance, activity and community structure will change under altered environmental conditions. This review covers aspects of the importance and implication of snowpack in microbial ecology emphasizing the diversity and activity of these critical members of cold zone ecosystems. PMID:24832663

  8. Relevance of antarctic microbial ecosystems to exobiology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mckay, Christopher P.

    1993-01-01

    Antarctic microbial ecosystems which provide biological and physical analogs that can be used in exobiology are studied. Since the access to extraterrestrial habitats is extremely difficult, terrestrial analogs represent the best opportunity for both formulation and preliminary testing of hypothesis about life. Antarctica, as one of few suitable environments on earth is considered to be a major locus of progress in exobiology.

  9. A new way to study the changing Arctic ecosystem

    ScienceCinema

    Hubbard, Susan

    2016-07-12

    Berkeley Lab scientists Susan Hubbard and Margaret Torn discuss the proposed Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment, which is designed to answer one of the most urgent questions facing researchers today: How will a changing climate impact the Arctic, and how will this in turn impact the planet's climate? More info: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2011/09/14/alaska-climate-change/

  10. A new way to study the changing Arctic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Hubbard, Susan

    2011-01-01

    Berkeley Lab scientists Susan Hubbard and Margaret Torn discuss the proposed Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment, which is designed to answer one of the most urgent questions facing researchers today: How will a changing climate impact the Arctic, and how will this in turn impact the planet's climate? More info: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2011/09/14/alaska-climate-change/

  11. Communicating Climate and Ecosystem Change in the Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soreide, N. N.; Overland, J. E.; Calder, J. A.; Rodionov, S.

    2005-12-01

    There is an explosion of interest in Northern Hemisphere climate, highlighting the importance of recent changes in the Arctic on mid-latitude climate and its impact on marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Traditional sea ice and tundra dominated arctic ecosystems are being reorganizing into warmer sub-arctic ecosystem types. Over the previous two years we have developed a comprehensive, near real-time arctic change detection protocol to track physical and biological changes for presentation on the web: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/detect. The effort provides a continuous update to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Report, released in November 2004. Principles for the protocol include an accessible narrative style, scientifically credible and objective indicators, notes multiple uses for the information, acknowledges uncertainties, and balances having too many indicators-which leads to information overload-and too few-which does not capture the complexity of the system. Screening criteria include concreteness, public awareness, being understandable, availability of historical time series, and sensitivity. The site provides sufficient information for an individual to make their own assessment regarding the balance of the evidence for tracking change. The product provides an overview, recent news, links to many arctic websites, and highlights climate, global impacts, land and marine ecosystems, and human consequences. Since its inception a year ago, it has averaged about 9000 hits an day on the web, and is a major information source as determined by Google search. The future direction focuses on understanding the causes for change. In spring 2005 we also presented a near real-time ecological and climatic surveillance website for the Bering Sea: www.beringclimate.noaa.gov. The site provides up-to-date information which ties northward shifts of fish, invertebrate and marine mammal populations to physical changes in the Arctic. This site is more technical than the

  12. Microbial life beneath a high arctic glacier.

    PubMed

    Skidmore, M L; Foght, J M; Sharp, M J

    2000-08-01

    The debris-rich basal ice layers of a high Arctic glacier were shown to contain metabolically diverse microbes that could be cultured oligotrophically at low temperatures (0.3 to 4 degrees C). These organisms included aerobic chemoheterotrophs and anaerobic nitrate reducers, sulfate reducers, and methanogens. Colonies purified from subglacial samples at 4 degrees C appeared to be predominantly psychrophilic. Aerobic chemoheterotrophs were metabolically active in unfrozen basal sediments when they were cultured at 0.3 degrees C in the dark (to simulate nearly in situ conditions), producing (14)CO(2) from radiolabeled sodium acetate with minimal organic amendment (> or =38 microM C). In contrast, no activity was observed when samples were cultured at subfreezing temperatures (< or =-1.8 degrees C) for 66 days. Electron microscopy of thawed basal ice samples revealed various cell morphologies, including dividing cells. This suggests that the subglacial environment beneath a polythermal glacier provides a viable habitat for life and that microbes may be widespread where the basal ice is temperate and water is present at the base of the glacier and where organic carbon from glacially overridden soils is present. Our observations raise the possibility that in situ microbial production of CO(2) and CH(4) beneath ice masses (e.g., the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets) is an important factor in carbon cycling during glacial periods. Moreover, this terrestrial environment may provide a model for viable habitats for life on Mars, since similar conditions may exist or may have existed in the basal sediments beneath the Martian north polar ice cap.

  13. Hydrolytic microbial communities in terrestrial ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manucharova, Natalia; Chernov, Timofey; Kolcova, Ekaterina; Zelezova, Alena; Lukacheva, Euhenia; Zenova, Galina

    2014-05-01

    Hydrolytic microbial communities in terrestrial ecosystems Manucharova N.A., Chernov T.I., Kolcova E.M., Zelezova A.D., Lukacheva E.G. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia Vertical differentiation of terrestrial biogeocenoses is conditioned by the formation of vertical tiers that differ considerably in the composition and structure of microbial communities. All the three tiers, phylloplane, litter and soil, are united by a single flow of organic matter, and are spatially separated successional stages of decomposition of organic substances. Decomposition of organic matter is mainly due to the activity of microorganisms producing enzymes - hydrolase and lyase - which destroy complex organic compounds. Application of molecular biological techniques (FISH) in environmental studies provides a more complete information concerning the taxonomic diversity and potential hydrolytic activity of microbial complexes of terrestrial ecosystems that exist in a wide range of environmental factors (moisture, temperature, redox potential, organic matter). The combination of two molecular biological techniques (FISH and DGGE-analysis of fragments of gene 16S rRNA total amplificate) enables an informative assessment of the differences in the structure of dominant and minor components of hydrolytic complexes formed in different tiers of terrestrial ecosystems. The functional activity of hydrolytic microbial complexes of terrestrial ecosystems is determined by the activity of dominant and minor components, which also have a high gross enzymatic activity. Degradation of biopolymers in the phylloplane is mainly due to the representatives of the Proteobacteria phylogenetic group (classes alpha and beta). In mineral soil horizons, the role of hydrolytic representatives of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria increases. Among the key environmental parameters that determine the functional activity of the hydrolytic (chitinolytic) complex of soil layer (moisture, nutrient supply, successional

  14. Stochastic daily modeling of arctic tundra ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erler, A.; Epstein, H. E.; Frazier, J.

    2011-12-01

    ArcVeg is a dynamic vegetation model that has simulated interannual variability of production and abundance of arctic tundra plant types in previous studies. In order to address the effects of changing seasonality on tundra plant community composition and productivity, we have uniquely adapted the model to operate on the daily timescale. Each section of the model-weather generation, nitrogen mineralization, and plant growth dynamics-are driven by daily fluctuations in simulated temperature conditions. These simulation dynamics are achieved by calibrating stochastic iterative loops and mathematical functions with raw field data. Air temperature is the fundamental driver in the model, parameterized by climate data collected in the field across numerous arctic tundra sites, and key daily statistics are extracted (mean and standard deviation of temperature for each day of the year). Nitrogen mineralization is calculated as an exponential function from the simulated temperature. The seasonality of plant growth is driven by the availability of nitrogen and constrained by historical patterns and dynamics of the remotely sensed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), as they pertain to the seasonal onset of growth. Here we describe the methods used for daily weather generation, nitrogen mineralization, and the daily competition among twelve plant functional types for nitrogen and subsequent growth. This still rather simple approach to vegetation dynamics has the capacity to generate complex relationships between seasonal patterns of temperature and arctic tundra vegetation community structure and function.

  15. Organic layer serves as a hotspot of microbial activity and abundance in Arctic tundra soils.

    PubMed

    Lee, Seung-Hoon; Jang, Inyoung; Chae, Namyi; Choi, Taejin; Kang, Hojeong

    2013-02-01

    Tundra ecosystem is of importance for its high accumulation of organic carbon and vulnerability to future climate change. Microorganisms play a key role in carbon dynamics of the tundra ecosystem by mineralizing organic carbon. We assessed both ecosystem process rates and community structure of Bacteria, Archaea, and Fungi in different soil layers (surface organic layer and subsurface mineral soil) in an Arctic soil ecosystem located at Spitsbergen, Svalbard during the summer of 2008 by using biochemical and molecular analyses, such as enzymatic assay, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and pyrosequencing. Activity of hydrolytic enzymes showed difference according to soil type. For all three microbial communities, the average gene copy number did not significantly differ between soil types. However, archaeal diversities appeared to differ according to soil type, whereas bacterial and fungal diversity indices did not show any variation. Correlation analysis between biogeochemical and microbial parameters exhibited a discriminating pattern according to microbial or soil types. Analysis of the microbial community structure showed that bacterial and archaeal communities have different profiles with unique phylotypes in terms of soil types. Water content and hydrolytic enzymes were found to be related with the structure of bacterial and archaeal communities, whereas soil organic matter (SOM) and total organic carbon (TOC) were related with bacterial communities. The overall results of this study indicate that microbial enzyme activity were generally higher in the organic layer than in mineral soils and that bacterial and archaeal communities differed between the organic layer and mineral soils in the Arctic region. Compared to mineral soil, peat-covered organic layer may represent a hotspot for secondary productivity and nutrient cycling in this ecosystem.

  16. Isotopic and Geochemical Fingerprinting of a Polygonal Arctic Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Throckmorton, H.; Heikoop, J. M.; Newman, B. D.; Wilson, C. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2015-12-01

    Arctic tundra contain large C stocks and may be an important source of CO2 and CH4 over the next century due to a rapidly changing climate, degrading permafrost, and redistribution of water across high latitude landscapes. This presentation synthesizes geochemical and isotopic data and examines vertical and lateral factors and processes critical to predicting the C, N, and water balance of tundra ecosystems. Stable water isotope analyses (delta 2H and delta 18O) indicate that summer rain is the dominant source for active layer groundwater, with melting seasonal ice contributing to deeper pore waters in late summer. Microtopography and water table effects on geochemistry were apparent from a comprehensive spatial examination of active layer biogeochemistry, showing a number of significant differences in the concentrations of cations and anions for high- vs. low-centered polygons, microtopographic features (polygonal centers vs. troughs), and with depth. Results have implications for future nutrient availability with projected permafrost degradation and landscape evolution, suggesting greater availability of limiting nutrients (sulfate, phosphate, and nitrate) where polygons undergo a shift from low- to high-centered. Nitrate isotopes (delta 15N and delta 18O) indicated a predominantly microbial source for nitrate in high centered polygons active layers. However, atmospheric nitrate was preserved in permafrost, and may serve as a potential indicator of permafrost degradation. Additionally, results suggest that older, deeper C sources may be promoting a shift in methanogenic pathway, from predominantly acetoclastic to hydrogenotrophic. This mechanistic shift is attributed to the source and quality of available organic substrate. Overall, results showed substantial lateral and vertical variability in biogeochemical, biogeophysical, and hydrological processes across microtopographic- to landscape scales that needs to be accounted for in fine and intermediate scale

  17. Methane-derived carbon flow through microbial communities in arctic lake sediments.

    PubMed

    He, Ruo; Wooller, Matthew J; Pohlman, John W; Tiedje, James M; Leigh, Mary Beth

    2015-09-01

    Aerobic methane (CH4 ) oxidation mitigates CH4 release and is a significant pathway for carbon and energy flow into aquatic food webs. Arctic lakes are responsible for an increasing proportion of global CH4 emissions, but CH4 assimilation into the aquatic food web in arctic lakes is poorly understood. Using stable isotope probing (SIP) based on phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA-SIP) and DNA (DNA-SIP), we tracked carbon flow quantitatively from CH4 into sediment microorganisms from an arctic lake with an active CH4 seepage. When 0.025 mmol CH4 g(-1) wet sediment was oxidized, approximately 15.8-32.8% of the CH4 -derived carbon had been incorporated into microorganisms. This CH4 -derived carbon equated to up to 5.7% of total primary production estimates for Alaskan arctic lakes. Type I methanotrophs, including Methylomonas, Methylobacter and unclassified Methylococcaceae, were most active at CH4 oxidation in this arctic lake. With increasing distance from the active CH4 seepage, a greater diversity of bacteria incorporated CH4 -derived carbon. Actinomycetes were the most quantitatively important microorganisms involved in secondary feeding on CH4 -derived carbon. These results showed that CH4 flows through methanotrophs into the broader microbial community and that type I methanotrophs, methylotrophs and actinomycetes are important organisms involved in using CH4 -derived carbon in arctic freshwater ecosystems.

  18. Energy flow in an arctic aquatic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1993-01-01

    This project has been using natural isotope abundances to trace major pathways of energy flow to consumers in Imnavait Creek and the tundra ecosystem of the R4D watershed with comparative work in the coastal tundra. We are processing samples collected at the R4D intensive site over the past three years and are comparing these data with similar samples collected from the coastal plain. Our approach is to determine if carbon is accumulating in upland and coastal tundra; to determine the role of eroded peat carbon in the aquatic ecosystem; and to determine the distribution of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the tundra-pond ecosystem to establish the feasibility of using natural differences as tracers.

  19. Energy flow in an arctic aquatic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1993-05-01

    This project has been using natural isotope abundances to trace major pathways of energy flow to consumers in Imnavait Creek and the tundra ecosystem of the R4D watershed with comparative work in the coastal tundra. We are processing samples collected at the R4D intensive site over the past three years and are comparing these data with similar samples collected from the coastal plain. Our approach is to determine if carbon is accumulating in upland and coastal tundra; to determine the role of eroded peat carbon in the aquatic ecosystem; and to determine the distribution of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the tundra-pond ecosystem to establish the feasibility of using natural differences as tracers.

  20. Arctic ecosystem functional zones: identification and quantification using an above and below ground monitoring strategy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, Susan S.; Ajo-Franklin, Jonathan B.; Dafflon, Baptiste; Dou, Shan; Kneafsey, Tim J.; Peterson, John E.; Tas, Neslihan; Torn, Margaret S.; Phuong Tran, Anh; Ulrich, Craig; Wainwright, Haruko; Wu, Yuxin; Wullschleger, Stan

    2015-04-01

    Although accurate prediction of ecosystem feedbacks to climate requires characterization of the properties that influence terrestrial carbon cycling, performing such characterization is challenging due to the disparity of scales involved. This is particularly true in vulnerable Arctic ecosystems, where microbial activities leading to the production of greenhouse gasses are a function of small-scale hydrological, geochemical, and thermal conditions influenced by geomorphology and seasonal dynamics. As part of the DOE Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE-Arctic), we are advancing two approaches to improve the characterization of complex Arctic ecosystems, with an initial application to an ice-wedge polygon dominated tundra site near Barrow, AK, USA. The first advance focuses on developing a new strategy to jointly monitor above- and below- ground properties critical for carbon cycling in the tundra. The strategy includes co-characterization of properties within the three critical ecosystem compartments: land surface (vegetation, water inundation, snow thickness, and geomorphology); active layer (peat thickness, soil moisture, soil texture, hydraulic conductivity, soil temperature, and geochemistry); and permafrost (mineral soil and ice content, nature, and distribution). Using a nested sampling strategy, a wide range of measurements have been collected at the study site over the past three years, including: above-ground imagery (LiDAR, visible, near infrared, NDVI) from various platforms, surface geophysical datasets (electrical, electromagnetic, ground penetrating radar, seismic), and point measurements (such as CO2 and methane fluxes, soil properties, microbial community composition). A subset of the coincident datasets is autonomously collected daily. Laboratory experiments and new inversion approaches are used to improve interpretation of the field geophysical datasets in terms of ecosystem properties. The new strategy has significantly advanced our ability

  1. Energy flow in an arctic aquatic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1988-01-01

    Natural isotope abundances to trace major pathways of energy flow to consumers in Imnavait Creek and the tundra ecosystem of the R4D watershed with comparative work in the coastal tundra. Our overall goals are to a determine if carbon is accumulating in upland and coastal tundra; determine the role of eroded peat carbon in the aquatic ecosystem; and to determine the distribution of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the tundra-pond ecosystem to establish the feasibility of using natural differences as tracers. Past work on fishes, birds, and the prey species of insects and aquatic crustaceans has shown that peat carbon is very important in the energy supply supporting the food webs over the course of the year. Obligate freshwater fishes from the coastal lakes and Colville River have been shown to contain up to 60 percent peat carbon at the end of the winter season. In contrast, migratory shorebirds and passerines contained much smaller radiocarbon abundances in summer, indicating a major shift to recent in situ primary production in pond and stream ecosystems in summer months. For the past two years, we have narrowed our focus to the processes supplying carbon to the beaded stream system at MS-117 and have concentrated on determining the transfer and accumulation rates of carbon in the watershed.

  2. Energy flow in an arctic aquatic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1988-12-31

    Natural isotope abundances to trace major pathways of energy flow to consumers in Imnavait Creek and the tundra ecosystem of the R4D watershed with comparative work in the coastal tundra. Our overall goals are to a determine if carbon is accumulating in upland and coastal tundra; determine the role of eroded peat carbon in the aquatic ecosystem; and to determine the distribution of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the tundra-pond ecosystem to establish the feasibility of using natural differences as tracers. Past work on fishes, birds, and the prey species of insects and aquatic crustaceans has shown that peat carbon is very important in the energy supply supporting the food webs over the course of the year. Obligate freshwater fishes from the coastal lakes and Colville River have been shown to contain up to 60 percent peat carbon at the end of the winter season. In contrast, migratory shorebirds and passerines contained much smaller radiocarbon abundances in summer, indicating a major shift to recent in situ primary production in pond and stream ecosystems in summer months. For the past two years, we have narrowed our focus to the processes supplying carbon to the beaded stream system at MS-117 and have concentrated on determining the transfer and accumulation rates of carbon in the watershed.

  3. Past changes in Arctic terrestrial ecosystems, climate and UV radiation.

    PubMed

    Callaghan, Terry V; Björn, Lars Olof; Chernov, Yuri; Chapin, Terry; Christensen, Torben R; Huntley, Brian; Ims, Rolf A; Johansson, Margareta; Jolly, Dyanna; Jonasson, Sven; Matveyeva, Nadya; Panikov, Nicolai; Oechel, Walter; Shaver, Gus

    2004-11-01

    At the last glacial maximum, vast ice sheets covered many continental areas. The beds of some shallow seas were exposed thereby connecting previously separated landmasses. Although some areas were ice-free and supported a flora and fauna, mean annual temperatures were 10-13 degrees C colder than during the Holocene. Within a few millennia of the glacial maximum, deglaciation started, characterized by a series of climatic fluctuations between about 18,000 and 11,400 years ago. Following the general thermal maximum in the Holocene, there has been a modest overall cooling trend, superimposed upon which have been a series of millennial and centennial fluctuations in climate such as the "Little Ice Age spanning approximately the late 13th to early 19th centuries. Throughout the climatic fluctuations of the last 150,000 years, Arctic ecosystems and biota have been close to their minimum extent within the most recent 10,000 years. They suffered loss of diversity as a result of extinctions during the most recent large-magnitude rapid global warming at the end of the last glacial stage. Consequently, Arctic ecosystems and biota such as large vertebrates are already under pressure and are particularly vulnerable to current and projected future global warming. Evidence from the past indicates that the treeline will very probably advance, perhaps rapidly, into tundra areas, as it did during the early Holocene, reducing the extent of tundra and increasing the risk of species extinction. Species will very probably extend their ranges northwards, displacing Arctic species as in the past. However, unlike the early Holocene, when lower relative sea level allowed a belt of tundra to persist around at least some parts of the Arctic basin when treelines advanced to the present coast, sea level is very likely to rise in future, further restricting the area of tundra and other treeless Arctic ecosystems. The negative response of current Arctic ecosystems to global climatic conditions

  4. Pan-Arctic patterns of planktonic heterotrophic microbial abundance and processes: Controlling factors and potential impacts of warming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maranger, Roxane; Vaqué, Dolors; Nguyen, Dan; Hébert, Marie-Pier; Lara, Elena

    2015-12-01

    The Arctic Ocean is rapidly changing where increasing water temperatures and rapid loss of summer sea-ice will likely influence the structure and functioning of the entire ecosystem. The aim of this study was to synthesize the current state of knowledge on microbial abundances and processes from a regional Pan-Arctic perspective, characterize regulating factors and attempt to predict how patterns may change under a warming scenario. Here we identify some generalized patterns of different microbial variables between the Pacific-fed and the Atlantic-fed sectors of the Arctic Ocean. Bacterial production (BP), abundance and grazing rates by protists (GT) were all higher in the Atlantic-fed region. Bacterial loss by viral lyses (VL) was proportionally more important in the Pacific-fed sector, suggesting a reduced C transfer efficiency within the microbial loop of that region. Using a cross-comparative approach and all available data to build Arrhenius plots, we found a differential response to warming temperatures among various microbial processes. BP and GT responded similarly and more strongly to increases in temperature than VL did, suggesting a shift in the overall influence of viral mortality under a warming scenario. However, together with temperature, resource-related factors also exerted an influence in regulating these rates. We identified large information gaps for more classically studied microbial variable from several Arctic seas. Furthermore, there is limited information on less conventional pathways such as grazing by mixotrophic species, which may be playing a significant role in Arctic microbial trophodynamics. Although generalized patterns could be elucidated, more information is needed to predict and understand how a changing Arctic will alter microbial C pathways and major biogeochemical cycles on regional and seasonal scales.

  5. Improved Climate Prediction through a System Level Understanding of Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems: Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE-Arctic)*

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, S. S.; Graham, D. E.; Hinzman, L. D.; Liang, L.; Liljedahl, A.; Norby, R. J.; Rogers, A.; Rowland, J. C.; Thornton, P. E.; Torn, M. S.; Riley, W. J.; Wilson, C. J.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2013-12-01

    Characterized by vast amounts of carbon stored in permafrost and a rapidly evolving landscape, the Arctic has emerged as an important focal point for the study of climate change. Although recognized as an ecosystem highly vulnerable to climate change, mechanisms that govern feedbacks between the terrestrial and climate system are not well understood. Increasing our confidence in climate projections for high-latitude regions of the world requires coordinated investigations that target improved process understanding and model representation of important ecosystem-climate feedbacks. The Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE-Arctic) seeks to address this challenge by quantifying the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of terrestrial ecosystems in Alaska. The NGEE-Arctic project is a large, multi-disciplinary activity sponsored by the Department of Energy, Office of Science. Recent NGEE-Arctic research has focused on the highly dynamic landscapes of the North Slope Arctic tundra where thaw lakes, drained thaw lake basins, and ice-rich polygonal ground offer distinct land units for investigation and modeling. The project is working on the Barrow Environmental Observatory to study interactions that drive critical climate feedbacks within these environments through greenhouse gas fluxes and changes in surface energy balance associated with permafrost degradation and the many other processes that arise as a result of these landscape dynamics. Ongoing are mechanistic studies in the field and in the laboratory; modeling of critical and interrelated water, nitrogen, carbon, and energy dynamics; and characterization of important interactions from molecular to landscape scales that drive feedbacks to the climate system. A suite of climate-, intermediate- and fine-scale models are being used to guide observations and interpret data, while characterization information and process studies serve to initialize state variables in models, provide new algorithms and

  6. Climate change effects on hydroecology of arctic freshwater ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Prowse, Terry D; Wrona, Frederick J; Reist, James D; Gibson, John J; Hobbie, John E; Lévesque, Lucie M J; Vincent, Warwick F

    2006-11-01

    In general, the arctic freshwater-terrestrial system will warm more rapidly than the global average, particularly during the autumn and winter season. The decline or loss of many cryospheric components and a shift from a nival to an increasingly pluvial system will produce numerous physical effects on freshwater ecosystems. Of particular note will be reductions in the dominance of the spring freshet and changes in the intensity of river-ice breakup. Increased evaporation/evapotranspiration due to longer ice-free seasons, higher air/water temperatures and greater transpiring vegetation along with increase infiltration because of permafrost thaw will decrease surface water levels and coverage. Loss of ice and permafrost, increased water temperatures and vegetation shifts will alter water chemistry, the general result being an increase in lotic and lentic productivity. Changes in ice and water flow/levels will lead to regime-specific increases and decreases in habitat availability/quality across the circumpolar Arctic.

  7. Satellite Monitoring of Disturbances in Arctic Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prieto-Blanco, A.; Disney, M.; Lewis, P.

    2008-12-01

    We explored the capability of satellite remote sensing to detect temporal changes in northern Fennoscandian regions through the application of a temporal model of surface bidirectional reflectance. Remote sensing offers the potential to monitor changes over large areas and at hard to access locations. Specifically in remote Arctic locations, where ground surveys and aircraft observations are constrained by weather conditions and logistics, remote sensing provides a unique capability for repetitive and frequent sampling. A major disturbance in mountain birch forests typical of northern Sweden and Finland is caused by outbreaks of defoliating insects such as the autumn moth (Epirrita autumnata) and the winter moth (Operophtera brumata). These outbreaks occur more or less cyclically every 9-10 years and attack mainly birch (Betula spp.) leaving a mosaic of open woodland within the forest. It is expected that global warming will affect the incidence and the intensity of this outbreaks. The ecological and economical consequences can be severe hence the importance of close monitoring of shifts in the distribution of events. Defoliated areas of up to 6000 to 7000 ha of birch forest have been reported. Severely affected areas could potentially be detected by satellite providing valuable data to understand the behavior, estimate the damage and predict the development of forest pests. Quantification of the impact of such outbreaks will also permit far more accurate estimation of the terrestrial carbon budget of such regions. Here we applied a generic algorithm to detect sudden changes on land surface cover to daily 500m MODIS surface reflectance data over the Fennoscandian area. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectraradiometer (MODIS) sensors on board the polar orbiting satellites Terra and Aqua provide an overpass at least once a day over the area of interest. Unfortunately, frequent cloud cover limits the acquisition of satellite imagery and persistent cloud cover may

  8. Microbial dynamics in a High Arctic glacier forefield: a combined field, laboratory, and modelling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, James A.; Arndt, Sandra; Šabacká, Marie; Benning, Liane G.; Barker, Gary L.; Blacker, Joshua J.; Yallop, Marian L.; Wright, Katherine E.; Bellas, Christopher M.; Telling, Jonathan; Tranter, Martyn; Anesio, Alexandre M.

    2016-10-01

    Modelling the development of soils in glacier forefields is necessary in order to assess how microbial and geochemical processes interact and shape soil development in response to glacier retreat. Furthermore, such models can help us predict microbial growth and the fate of Arctic soils in an increasingly ice-free future. Here, for the first time, we combined field sampling with laboratory analyses and numerical modelling to investigate microbial community dynamics in oligotrophic proglacial soils in Svalbard. We measured low bacterial growth rates and growth efficiencies (relative to estimates from Alpine glacier forefields) and high sensitivity of bacterial growth rates to soil temperature (relative to temperate soils). We used these laboratory measurements to inform parameter values in a new numerical model and significantly refined predictions of microbial and biogeochemical dynamics of soil development over a period of roughly 120 years. The model predicted the observed accumulation of autotrophic and heterotrophic biomass. Genomic data indicated that initial microbial communities were dominated by bacteria derived from the glacial environment, whereas older soils hosted a mixed community of autotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria. This finding was simulated by the numerical model, which showed that active microbial communities play key roles in fixing and recycling carbon and nutrients. We also demonstrated the role of allochthonous carbon and microbial necromass in sustaining a pool of organic material, despite high heterotrophic activity in older soils. This combined field, laboratory, and modelling approach demonstrates the value of integrated model-data studies to understand and quantify the functioning of the microbial community in an emerging High Arctic soil ecosystem.

  9. Changing seasonality of Arctic hydrology disrupts key biotic linkages in Arctic aquatic ecosystems.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deegan, L.; MacKenzie, C.; Peterson, B. J.; Fishscape Project

    2011-12-01

    Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) is an important circumpolar species that provide a model system for understanding the impacts of changing seasonality on arctic ecosystem function. Grayling serve as food for other biota, including lake trout, birds and humans, and act as top-down controls in stream ecosystems. In Arctic tundra streams, grayling spend their summers in streams but are obligated to move back into deep overwintering lakes in the fall. Climatic change that affects the seasonality of river hydrology could have a significant impact on grayling populations: grayling may leave overwintering lakes sooner in the spring and return later in the fall due to a longer open water season, but the migration could be disrupted by drought due to increased variability in discharge. In turn, a shorter overwintering season may impact lake trout dynamics in the lakes, which may rely on the seasonal inputs of stream nutrients in the form of migrating grayling into these oligotrophic lakes. To assess how shifting seasonality of Arctic river hydrology may disrupt key trophic linkages within and between lake and stream components of watersheds on the North Slope of the Brooks Mountain Range, Alaska, we have undertaken new work on grayling and lake trout population and food web dynamics. We use Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags coupled with stream-width antenna units to monitor grayling movement across Arctic tundra watersheds during the summer, and into overwintering habitat in the fall. Results indicate that day length may prime grayling migration readiness, but that flooding events are likely the cue grayling use to initiate migration in to overwintering lakes. Many fish used high discharge events in the stream as an opportunity to move into lakes. Stream and lake derived stable isotopes also indicate that lake trout rely on these seasonally transported inputs of stream nutrients for growth. Thus, changes in the seasonality of river hydrology may have broader

  10. The Northern Bering Sea: An Arctic Ecosystem in Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grebmeier, J. M.; Cooper, L. W.

    2004-12-01

    Arctic systems can be rich and diverse habitats for marine life in spite of the extreme cold environment. Benthic faunal populations and associated biogeochemical cycling processes are influenced by sea-ice extent, seawater hydrography (nutrients, salinity, temperature, currents), and water column production. Benthic organisms on the Arctic shelves and margins are long-term integrators of overlying water column processes. Because these organisms have adapted to living at cold extremes, it is reasonable to expect that these communities will be among the most susceptible to climate warming. Recent observations show that Arctic sea ice in the North American Arctic is melting and retreating northward earlier in the season and the timing of these events can have dramatic impacts on the biological system. Changes in overlying primary production, pelagic-benthic coupling, and benthic production and community structure can have cascading effects to higher trophic levels, particularly benthic feeders such as walruses, gray whales, and diving seaducks. Recent indicators of contemporary Arctic change in the northern Bering Sea include seawater warming and reduction in ice extent that coincide with our time-series studies of benthic clam population declines in the shallow northern Bering shelf in the 1990's. In addition, declines in benthic amphipod populations have also likely influenced the movement of feeding gray whales to areas north of Bering Strait during this same time period. Finally a potential consequence of seawater warming and reduced ice extent in the northern Bering Sea could be the northward movement of bottom feeding fish currently in the southern Bering Sea that prey on benthic fauna. This would increase the feeding pressure on the benthic prey base and enhance competition for this food source for benthic-feeding marine mammals and seabirds. This presentation will outline recent biological changes observed in the northern Bering Sea ecosystem as documented in

  11. Microbial community composition and endolith colonization at an Arctic thermal spring are driven by calcite precipitation.

    PubMed

    Starke, Verena; Kirshtein, Julie; Fogel, Marilyn L; Steele, Andrew

    2013-10-01

    Environmental conditions shape community composition. Arctic thermal springs provide an opportunity to study how environmental gradients can impose strong selective pressures on microbial communities and provide a continuum of niche opportunities. We use microscopic and molecular methods to conduct a survey of microbial community composition at Troll Springs on Svalbard, Norway, in the high Arctic. Microorganisms there exist under a wide range of environmental conditions: in warm water as periphyton, in moist granular materials, and in cold, dry rock as endoliths. Troll Springs has two distinct ecosystems, aquatic and terrestrial, together in close proximity, with different underlying environmental factors shaping each microbial community. Periphyton are entrapped during precipitation of calcium carbonate from the spring's waters, providing microbial populations that serve as precursors for the development of endolithic communities. This process differs from most endolith colonization, in which the rock predates the communities that colonize it. Community composition is modulated as environmental conditions change within the springs. At Troll, the aquatic environments show a small number of dominant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that are specific to each sample. The terrestrial environments show a more even distribution of OTUs common to multiple samples.

  12. Microbial community composition and endolith colonization at an Arctic thermal spring are driven by calcite precipitation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Starke, Verena; Kirshtein, Julie; Fogel, Marilyn L.; Steele, Andrew

    2013-01-01

    Environmental conditions shape community composition. Arctic thermal springs provide an opportunity to study how environmental gradients can impose strong selective pressures on microbial communities and provide a continuum of niche opportunities. We use microscopic and molecular methods to conduct a survey of microbial community composition at Troll Springs on Svalbard, Norway, in the high Arctic. Microorganisms there exist under a wide range of environmental conditions: in warm water as periphyton, in moist granular materials, and in cold, dry rock as endoliths. Troll Springs has two distinct ecosystems, aquatic and terrestrial, together in close proximity, with different underlying environmental factors shaping each microbial community. Periphyton are entrapped during precipitation of calcium carbonate from the spring's waters, providing microbial populations that serve as precursors for the development of endolithic communities. This process differs from most endolith colonization, in which the rock predates the communities that colonize it. Community composition is modulated as environmental conditions change within the springs. At Troll, the aquatic environments show a small number of dominant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that are specific to each sample. The terrestrial environments show a more even distribution of OTUs common to multiple samples.

  13. Microbial mats and the search for minimal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Guerrero, R; Piqueras, M; Berlanga, M

    2002-12-01

    This article reviews some ecological concepts common to all kinds of ecosystems, describes the characteristics of microbial mats, and focuses on the description of the Ebro Delta microbial mats, to assess whether they fit the concept of a minimal ecosystem. First, microorganisms as components of ecosystems are considered, and some features of microbial life, including ubiquity, size and metabolism, genetic versatility, and strategies to overcome unfavorable conditions, are discussed. Models for ecosystems, regardless of their size, have the same basic components; tropical forests, multilayered planktonic microbial communities, and benthic microbial mats are analogous ecosystems at different scales. The structure--in terms of populations and communities--and ecophysiology of microbial mats are also discussed. The linear distribution of microbial populations along steep gradients of light and hydrogen sulfide allows for the simultaneous presence of different microbial populations. Defining the minimal ecosystem requirements necessary for the survival and proliferation of organisms is crucial in the search for extraterrestrial life and for establishing ecosystems beyond the Earth.

  14. Nitrogen accumulation and partitioning in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem from extreme atmospheric N deposition events.

    PubMed

    Choudhary, Sonal; Blaud, Aimeric; Osborn, A Mark; Press, Malcolm C; Phoenix, Gareth K

    2016-06-01

    Arctic ecosystems are threatened by pollution from recently detected extreme atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition events in which up to 90% of the annual N deposition can occur in just a few days. We undertook the first assessment of the fate of N from extreme deposition in High Arctic tundra and are presenting the results from the whole ecosystem (15)N labelling experiment. In 2010, we simulated N depositions at rates of 0, 0.04, 0.4 and 1.2 g Nm(-2)yr(-1), applied as (15)NH4(15)NO3 in Svalbard (79(°)N), during the summer. Separate applications of (15)NO3(-) and (15)NH4(+) were also made to determine the importance of N form in their retention. More than 95% of the total (15)N applied was recovered after one growing season (~90% after two), demonstrating a considerable capacity of Arctic tundra to retain N from these deposition events. Important sinks for the deposited N, regardless of its application rate or form, were non-vascular plants>vascular plants>organic soil>litter>mineral soil, suggesting that non-vascular plants could be the primary component of this ecosystem to undergo measurable changes due to N enrichment from extreme deposition events. Substantial retention of N by soil microbial biomass (70% and 39% of (15)N in organic and mineral horizon, respectively) during the initial partitioning demonstrated their capacity to act as effective buffers for N leaching. Between the two N forms, vascular plants (Salix polaris) in particular showed difference in their N recovery, incorporating four times greater (15)NO3(-) than (15)NH4(+), suggesting deposition rich in nitrate will impact them more. Overall, these findings show that despite the deposition rates being extreme in statistical terms, biologically they do not exceed the capacity of tundra to sequester pollutant N during the growing season. Therefore, current and future extreme events may represent a major source of eutrophication.

  15. Pleistocene graminoid-dominated ecosystems in the Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blinnikov, Mikhail S.; Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Walker, Donald A.; Wooller, Matthew J.; Zazula, Grant D.

    2011-10-01

    We review evidence obtained from analyses of multiple proxies (floristics, mammal remains, paleoinsects, pollen, macrofossils, plant cuticles, phytoliths, stable isotopes, and modeling) that elucidate the composition and character of the graminoid-dominated ecosystems of the Pleistocene Arctic. The past thirty years have seen a renewed interest in this now-extinct biome, sometimes referred to as "tundra-steppe" (steppe-tundra in North American sources). While many questions remain, converging evidence from many new terrestrial records and proxies coupled with better understanding of paleoclimate dynamics point to the predominance of xeric and cold adapted grassland as the key former vegetation type in the Arctic confirming earlier conjectures completed in the 1960s-1980s. A variety of still existing species of grasses and forbs played key roles in the species assemblages of the time, but their mixtures were not analogous to the tundras of today. Local mosaics based on topography, proximity to the ice sheets and coasts, soil heterogeneity, animal disturbance, and fire regimes were undoubtedly present. However, inadequate coverage of terrestrial proxies exist to resolve this spatial heterogeneity. These past ecosystems were maintained by a combination of dry and cold climate and grazing pressure/disturbance by large (e.g., mammoth and horse) and small (e.g., ground squirrels) mammals. Some recent studies from Eastern Beringia (Alaska) suggest that more progress will be possible when analyses of many proxies are combined at local scales.

  16. Variation in peak growing season net ecosystem production across the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Lafleur, Peter M; Humphreys, Elyn R; St Louis, Vincent L; Myklebust, May C; Papakyriakou, Tim; Poissant, Laurier; Barker, Joel D; Pilote, Martin; Swystun, Kyle A

    2012-08-07

    Tundra ecosystems store vast amounts of soil organic carbon, which may be sensitive to climatic change. Net ecosystem production, NEP, is the net exchange of carbon dioxide (CO(2)) between landscapes and the atmosphere, and represents the balance between CO(2) uptake by photosynthesis and release by decomposition and autotrophic respiration. Here we examine CO(2) exchange across seven sites in the Canadian low and high Arctic during the peak growing season (July) in summer 2008. All sites were net sinks for atmospheric CO(2) (NEP ranged from 5 to 67 g C m(-2)), with low Arctic sites being substantially larger CO(2) sinks. The spatial difference in NEP between low and high Arctic sites was determined more by CO(2) uptake via gross ecosystem production than by CO(2) release via ecosystem respiration. Maximum gross ecosystem production at the low Arctic sites (average 8.6 μmol m(-2) s(-1)) was about 4 times larger than for high Arctic sites (average 2.4 μmol m(-2) s(-1)). NEP decreased with increasing temperature at all low Arctic sites, driven largely by the ecosystem respiration response. No consistent temperature response was found for the high Arctic sites. The results of this study clearly indicate there are large differences in tundra CO(2) exchange between high and low Arctic environments and this difference should be a central consideration in studies of Arctic carbon balance and climate change.

  17. Dissolved organic matter composition and bioavailability reflect ecosystem productivity in the Western Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Y.; Fichot, C. G.; Benner, R.

    2012-07-01

    Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved amino acids (TDAA) were measured in high (Chukchi Sea) and low (Beaufort Sea) productivity regions of the Western Arctic Ocean to investigate the composition and bioavailability of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Concentrations and DOC-normalized yields of TDAA in Chukchi surface waters were relatively high, indicating an accumulation of bioavailable DOM. High yields of TDAA were also observed in the upper halocline of slope and basin waters, indicating off-shelf transport of bioavailable DOM from the Chukchi Sea. In contrast, concentrations and yields of TDAA in Beaufort surface waters were relatively low, indicting DOM was of limited bioavailability. Yields of TDAA in the upper halocline of slope and basin waters were also low, suggesting the Beaufort is not a major source of bioavailable DOM to slope and basin waters. In shelf waters of both systems, elevated concentrations and yields of TDAA were often observed in waters with higher chlorophyll concentrations and productivity. Surface concentrations of DOC were similar (p > 0.05) in the two systems despite the contrasting productivity, but concentrations and yields of TDAA were significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in the Chukchi than in the Beaufort. Unlike bulk DOC, TDAA concentrations and yields reflect ecosystem productivity in the Western Arctic. The occurrence of elevated bioavailable DOM concentrations in the Chukchi implies an uncoupling between the biological production and utilization of DOM and has important implications for sustaining heterotrophic microbial growth and diversity in oligotrophic waters of the Central Arctic basins.

  18. Climate change on arctic environment, ecosystem services and society (CLICHE)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weckström, J.; Korhola, A.; Väliranta, M.; Seppä, H.; Luoto, M.; Tuittila, E.-S.; Leppäranta, M.; Kahilainen, K.; Saarinen, J.; Heikkinen, H.

    2012-04-01

    The predicted climate warming has raised many questions and concerns about its impacts on the environment and society. As a respond to the need of holistic studies comprising both of these areas, The Academy of Finland launched The Finnish Research Programme on Climate Change (FICCA 2011-2014) in spring 2010 with the main aim to focus on the interaction between the environment and society. Ultimately 11 national consortium projects were funded (total budget 12 million EUR). Here we shortly present the main objectives of the largest consortium project "Climate change on arctic environment, ecosystem services and society" (CLICHE). The CLICHE consortium comprises eight interrelated work packages (treeline, diversity, peatlands, snow, lakes, fish, tourism, and traditional livelihoods), each led by a prominent research group and a team leader. The research consortium has three main overall objectives: 1) Investigate, map and model the past, present and future climate change-induced changes in central ecosystems of the European Arctic with unprecedented precision 2) Deepen our understanding of the basic principles of ecosystem and social resilience and dynamics; identify key taxa, structures or processes that clearly indicate impending or realised global change through their loss, occurrence or behaviour, using analogues from the past (e.g. Holocene Thermal Maximum, Medieval Warm Period), experiments, observations and models 3) Develop adaptation and mitigation strategies to minimize the adverse effects of climate change on local communities, traditional livelihoods, fisheries, and tourism industry, and promote sustainable development of local community structures and enhance the quality of life of local human populations. As the project has started only recently no final results are available yet. However, the fieldwork as well as the co-operation between the research teams has thus far been very successful. Thus, the expectations for the final outcome of the project

  19. Arctic Gypsum Endoliths: a biogeochemical characterization of a viable and active microbial community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziolkowski, L. A.; Mykytczuk, N. C. S.; Omelon, C. R.; Johnson, H.; Whyte, L. G.; Slater, G. F.

    2013-02-01

    Extreme environmental conditions such as those found in the polar regions on Earth are thought to test the limits of life. Microorganisms living in these environments often seek protection from environmental stresses such as high UV exposure, desiccation and rapid temperature fluctuations, with one protective habitat found within rocks. Such endolithic microbial communities, which often consist of bacteria, fungi, algae and lichens, are small-scale ecosystems comprised of both producers and consumers. However, the harsh environmental conditions experienced by polar endolithic communities are thought to limit microbial diversity and the rate at which they cycle carbon. In this study, we characterized the microbial community diversity, turnover, and microbe-mineral interactions of a gypsum-based endolithic community in the polar desert of the Canadian high Arctic. 16S/18S rRNA pyrotag sequencing demonstrated the presence of a diverse community of phototrophic and heterotrophic bacteria, algae and fungi. Stable carbon isotope analysis of the viable microbial membranes, as phospholipid fatty acids and glycolipid fatty acids, confirmed the diversity observed by molecular techniques and indicated that atmospheric carbon is assimilated into the microbial community biomass. Uptake of radiocarbon from atmospheric radioweapons testing during the 1960s into microbial lipids was used as a pulse label to determine that the microbial community turns over carbon on the order of 10 yr, equivalent to 4.4 g C m-2 yr-1 gross primary productivity. SEM micrographs indicated that mechanical weathering of gypsum by freeze-thaw cycles leads to increased porosity, which ultimately increases the habitability of the rock. In addition, while bacteria were adhered to these mineral surfaces there was little evidence for microbial alteration of minerals, which contrasts with other gypsum endolithic habitats. While it is possible that these communities turn over carbon quickly and leave little

  20. Seasonal shift in factors controlling net ecosystem production in a high Arctic terrestrial ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Uchida, Masaki; Kishimoto, Ayaka; Muraoka, Hiroyuki; Nakatsubo, Takayuki; Kanda, Hiroshi; Koizumi, Hiroshi

    2010-01-01

    We examined factors controlling temporal changes in net ecosystem production (NEP) in a high Arctic polar semi-desert ecosystem in the snow-free season. We examined the relationships between NEP and biotic and abiotic factors in a dominant plant community (Salix polaris-moss) in the Norwegian high Arctic. Just after snowmelt in early July, the ecosystem released CO(2) into the atmosphere. A few days after snowmelt, however, the ecosystem became a CO(2) sink as the leaves of S. polaris developed. Diurnal changes in NEP mirrored changes in light incidence (photosynthetic photon flux density, PPFD) in summer. NEP was significantly correlated with PPFD when S. polaris had fully developed leaves, i.e., high photosynthetic activity. In autumn, NEP values decreased as S. polaris underwent senescence. During this time, CO(2) was sometimes released into the atmosphere. In wet conditions, moss made a larger contribution to NEP. In fact, the water content of the moss regulated NEP during autumn. Our results indicate that the main factors controlling NEP in summer are coverage and growth of S. polaris, PPFD, and precipitation. In autumn, the main factor controlling NEP is moss water content.

  1. Climate impacts on arctic freshwater ecosystems and fisheries: background, rationale and approach of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA).

    PubMed

    Wrona, Frederick J; Prowse, Terry D; Reist, James D; Hobbie, John E; Lévesque, Lucie M J; Vincent, Warwick F

    2006-11-01

    Changes in climate and ultraviolet radiation levels in the Arctic will have far-reaching impacts, affecting aquatic species at various trophic levels, the physical and chemical environment that makes up their habitat, and the processes that act on and within freshwater ecosystems. Interactions of climatic variables, such as temperature and precipitation, with freshwater ecosystems are highly complex and can propagate through the ecosystem in ways that are difficult to project. This is partly due to a poor understanding of arctic freshwater systems and their basic interrelationships with climate and other environmental variables, and partly due to a paucity of long-term freshwater monitoring sites and integrated hydro-ecological research programs in the Arctic. The papers in this special issue are an abstraction of the analyses performed by 25 international experts and their associated networks on Arctic freshwater hydrology and related aquatic ecosystems that was initially published by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) in 2005 as "Chapter 8--Freshwater Ecosystems and Fisheries". The papers provide a broad overview of the general hydrological and ecological features of the various freshwater ecosystems in the Arctic, including descriptions of each ACIA region, followed by a review of historical changes in freshwater systems during the Holocene. This is followed by an assessment of the effects of climate change on broad-scale hydro-ecology; aquatic biota and ecosystem structure and function; and arctic fish and fisheries. Potential synergistic and cumulative effects are also discussed, as are the roles of ultraviolet radiation and contaminants. The nature and complexity of many of the effects are illustrated using case studies from around the circumpolar north, together with a discussion of important threshold responses (i.e., those that produce stepwise and/or nonlinear effects). The issue concludes with summary the key findings, a list of gaps in

  2. Microbial Communities in a High Arctic Polar Desert Landscape

    PubMed Central

    McCann, Clare M.; Wade, Matthew J.; Gray, Neil D.; Roberts, Jennifer A.; Hubert, Casey R. J.; Graham, David W.

    2016-01-01

    The High Arctic is dominated by polar desert habitats whose microbial communities are poorly understood. In this study, we used next generation sequencing to describe the α- and β-diversity of microbial communities in polar desert soils from the Kongsfjorden region of Svalbard. Ten phyla dominated the soils and accounted for 95% of all sequences, with the Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Chloroflexi being the major lineages. In contrast to previous investigations of Arctic soils, relative Acidobacterial abundances were found to be very low as were the Archaea throughout the Kongsfjorden polar desert landscape. Lower Acidobacterial abundances were attributed to characteristic circumneutral soil pHs in this region, which has resulted from the weathering of underlying carbonate bedrock. In addition, we compared previously measured geochemical conditions as possible controls on soil microbial communities. Phosphorus, pH, nitrogen, and calcium levels all significantly correlated with β-diversity, indicating landscape-scale lithological control of available nutrients, which in turn, significantly influenced soil community composition. In addition, soil phosphorus and pH significantly correlated with α-diversity, particularly with the Shannon diversity and Chao 1 richness indices. PMID:27065980

  3. Viral Induced Microbial Mortality in Arctic Hypersaline Spring Sediments.

    PubMed

    Colangelo-Lillis, Jesse; Wing, Boswell A; Raymond-Bouchard, Isabelle; Whyte, Lyle G

    2016-01-01

    Viruses are a primary influence on microbial mortality in the global ocean. The impacts of viruses on their microbial hosts in low-energy environments are poorly explored and are the focus of this study. To investigate the role of viruses in mediating mortality in low-energy environments where contacts between viruses and microbes are infrequent, we conducted a set of in situ time series incubations in the outlet and channel sediments of two cold, hypersaline springs of the Canadian High Arctic. We found microbial and viral populations in dynamic equilibrium, indicating approximately equal birth and death rates for each population. In situ rates of microbial growth were low (0.5-50 × 10(3) cells cm(-3) h(-1)) as were rates of viral decay (0.09-170 × 10(4) virions cm(-3) h(-1)). A large fraction of the springs' viral communities (49-100%) were refractory to decay over the timescales of our experiments. Microcosms amended with lactate or acetate exhibited increased microbial growth rates (up to three-fold) indicating organic carbon as one limiting resource for the microbial communities in these environments. A substantial fraction (15-71%) of the microbial populations contained inducible proviruses that were released- occasionally in multiple pulses- over the eight monitored days following chemical induction. Our findings indicate that viruses in low-energy systems maintain low rates of production and activity, have a small but notable impact on microbial mortality (8-29% attenuation of growth) and that successful viral replication may primarily proceed by non-lethal strategies. In cold, low biomass marine systems of similar character (e.g., subsurface sediments), viruses may be a relatively minor driver of community mortality compared to less energy-limited environments such as the marine water column or surface sediments.

  4. Viral Induced Microbial Mortality in Arctic Hypersaline Spring Sediments

    PubMed Central

    Colangelo-Lillis, Jesse; Wing, Boswell A.; Raymond-Bouchard, Isabelle; Whyte, Lyle G.

    2017-01-01

    Viruses are a primary influence on microbial mortality in the global ocean. The impacts of viruses on their microbial hosts in low-energy environments are poorly explored and are the focus of this study. To investigate the role of viruses in mediating mortality in low-energy environments where contacts between viruses and microbes are infrequent, we conducted a set of in situ time series incubations in the outlet and channel sediments of two cold, hypersaline springs of the Canadian High Arctic. We found microbial and viral populations in dynamic equilibrium, indicating approximately equal birth and death rates for each population. In situ rates of microbial growth were low (0.5–50 × 103 cells cm-3 h-1) as were rates of viral decay (0.09–170 × 104 virions cm-3 h-1). A large fraction of the springs’ viral communities (49–100%) were refractory to decay over the timescales of our experiments. Microcosms amended with lactate or acetate exhibited increased microbial growth rates (up to three-fold) indicating organic carbon as one limiting resource for the microbial communities in these environments. A substantial fraction (15–71%) of the microbial populations contained inducible proviruses that were released- occasionally in multiple pulses- over the eight monitored days following chemical induction. Our findings indicate that viruses in low-energy systems maintain low rates of production and activity, have a small but notable impact on microbial mortality (8–29% attenuation of growth) and that successful viral replication may primarily proceed by non-lethal strategies. In cold, low biomass marine systems of similar character (e.g., subsurface sediments), viruses may be a relatively minor driver of community mortality compared to less energy-limited environments such as the marine water column or surface sediments. PMID:28167930

  5. Arctic gypsum endoliths: a biogeochemical characterization of a viable and active microbial community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ziolkowski, L. A.; Mykytczuk, N. C. S.; Omelon, C. R.; Johnson, H.; Whyte, L. G.; Slater, G. F.

    2013-11-01

    Extreme environmental conditions such as those found in the polar regions on Earth are thought to test the limits of life. Microorganisms living in these environments often seek protection from environmental stresses such as high UV exposure, desiccation and rapid temperature fluctuations, with one protective habitat found within rocks. Such endolithic microbial communities, which often consist of bacteria, fungi, algae and lichens, are small-scale ecosystems comprised of both producers and consumers. However, the harsh environmental conditions experienced by polar endolithic communities are thought to limit microbial diversity and therefore the rate at which they cycle carbon. In this study, we characterized the microbial community diversity, turnover rate and microbe-mineral interactions of a gypsum-based endolithic community in the polar desert of the Canadian high Arctic. 16S/18S/23S rRNA pyrotag sequencing demonstrated the presence of a diverse community of phototrophic and heterotrophic bacteria, archaea, algae and fungi. Stable carbon isotope analysis of the viable microbial membranes, as phospholipid fatty acids and glycolipid fatty acids, confirmed the diversity observed by molecular techniques and indicated that present-day atmospheric carbon is assimilated into the microbial community biomass. Uptake of radiocarbon from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing during the 1960s into microbial lipids was used as a pulse label to determine that the microbial community turns over carbon on the order of 10 yr, equivalent to 4.4 g C m-2 yr-1 gross primary productivity. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs indicated that mechanical weathering of gypsum by freeze-thaw cycles leads to increased porosity, which ultimately increases the habitability of the rock. In addition, while bacteria were adhered to these mineral surfaces, chemical analysis by micro-X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) spectroscopy suggests little evidence for microbial alteration of minerals

  6. Changing Arctic ecosystems: resilience of caribou to climatic shifts in the Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gustine, David; Adams, Layne; Whalen, Mary; Pearce, John

    2014-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative strives to inform key resource management decisions for Arctic Alaska by providing scientific information and forecasts for current and future ecosystem response to a warming climate. Over the past 5 years, a focal area for the USGS CAE initiative has been the North Slope of Alaska. This region has experienced a warming trend over the past 60 years, yet the rate of change has been varied across the North Slope, leading scientists to question the future response and resilience of wildlife populations, such as caribou (Rangifer tarandus), that rely on tundra habitats for forage. Future changes in temperature and precipitation to coastal wet sedge and upland low shrub tundra are expected, with unknown consequences for caribou that rely on these plant communities for food. Understanding how future environmental change may affect caribou migration, nutrition, and reproduction is a focal question being addressed by the USGS CAE research. Results will inform management agencies in Alaska and people that rely on caribou for food.

  7. Hydrological and geochemical response and recovery in disturbed Arctic ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-01-01

    This progress report is a funding, extension request to continue the database work for the Hydrological and Geochemical Response and Recovery in Disturbed Arctic Ecosystems Program. Throughout the period from 1985 to 1992 the Department of Energy supported research on the hydrology and geochemistry of the headwater basin of Imnavait Creek has focused on the quantification of the input from atmospheric sources of biologically significant and other related chemical variables; the transport of these variables in surface and subsurface flow and their efflux from the basin; and the development of geochemical budgets. The acquisition of multi-year data sets (the longest and most detailed sets in the Arctic) have made it possible to define seasonal ranges and amplitudes; determine spatial and temporal relationships within the different flow compartments; to begin to model the pathways and rates of movement through and across different landscape units. The length of record has also made it possible to examine the quantity and influence of local and extra-regional additions.

  8. Effects of Conversion from Boreal Forest to Arctic Steppe on Soil Communities and Ecosystem Carbon Pools

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Han, P. D.; Natali, S.; Schade, J. D.; Zimov, N.; Zimov, S. A.

    2014-12-01

    The end of the Pleistocene marked the extinction of a great variety of arctic megafauna, which, in part, led to the conversion of arctic grasslands to modern Siberian larch forest. This shift may have increased the vulnerability of permafrost to thawing because of changes driven by the vegetation shift; the higher albedo of grassland and low insulation of snow trampled by animals may have decreased soil temperatures and reduced ground thaw in the grassland ecosystem, resulting in protection of organic carbon in thawed soil and permafrost. To test these hypothesized impacts of arctic megafauna, we examined an experimental reintroduction of large mammals in northeast Siberia, initiated in 1988. Pleistocene Park now contains 23 horses, three musk ox, one bison, and several moose in addition to the native fauna. The park is 16 square km with a smaller enclosure (< 1 km) where animals spend most of their time and our study was focused. We measured carbon-pools in forested sites (where scat surveys showed low animal use), and grassy sites (which showed higher use), within the park boundaries. We also measured thaw depth and documented the soil invertebrate communities in each ecosystem. There was a substantial difference in number of invertebrates per kg of organic soil between the forest (600 ± 250) and grassland (300 ± 250), though these differences were not statistically significant they suggest faster nutrient turnover in the forest or a greater proportion of decomposition by invertebrates than other decomposers. While thaw depth was deeper in the grassland (60 ± 4 cm) than in the forest (40 ± 6 cm), we did not detect differences in organic layer depth or percent organic matter between grassland and forest. However, soil in the grassland had higher bulk density, and higher carbon stocks in the organic and mineral soil layers. Although deeper thaw depth in the grassland suggests that more carbon is available to microbial decomposers, ongoing temperature monitoring

  9. Coupled ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling in a High Arctic ecosystem are altered by long-term experimental warming and higher rainfall

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaeffer, S. M.; Schimel, J.; Welker, J. M.

    2013-12-01

    The rapid changes in temperature and precipitation in High Arctic tundra ecosystems are altering the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen (N) and carbon (C), but in ways that are difficult to anticipate. The challenge grows from the complexity of tundra soil organic matter, the uncertainty of N cycle responses and the extent to which shifts in soil N processes are coupled with the C cycle, including leaf-level photosynthesis, gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GEP-productivity) and net CO2 exchange (NEE-C sequestration). Understanding the processes that are leading to changes in High Arctic biogeochemical processes are especially important today as soil organic C pools in the High Arctic are up to 6 times greater than previously estimated, and are sensitive to being oxidized to the atmosphere through changes in microbial decomposition associated with warmer and wetter conditions. We used a long-term (since 2003) experiment of summer warming and supplemental summer water additions to a High Arctic ecosystem in NW Greenland to determine the impact of interactions between temperature, water availability, and microbial metabolism on the cycling of C and plant-available N in High Arctic tundra soil. We have found that water availability plays a critical role in these cycles in High Arctic tundra, over and above that from temperature increases. On seasonal time scales, we observed greater net N mineralization under both global change scenarios, yet water addition also significantly increased net nitrification rates, loss of NO3--N via leaching from surface soil layers, and lowered rates of labile organic C and N production. We also expected the chronic warming and watering would lead to long-term changes in soil N-cycling that would be reflected in soil δ15N values. However, we found that soil δ15N decreased under the different climate change scenarios. Our findings indicate that warmer, wetter High Arctic tundra will be cycling N and C in ways that may transform these

  10. Cold- and Growing-Season Microbial Substrate Use in Arctic Tundra Soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schimel, J.; McMahon, S.

    2006-12-01

    Microbial communities will play a critical role in determining arctic ecosystem response to warming due to global climate change since decomposition, which is responsible for both CO2 evolution and plant nutrient availability, is a microbially-mediated process. Microorganisms living in tundra soil have access to two broad categories of carbon compounds via decomposition: complex polymers such as cellulose, lignin, protein and soil organic matter, and simple monomers such as glucose, phenolics and amino acids. Thermodynamically, labile substrates are easier to degrade because the activation energy of the reaction is lower than for more recalcitrant polymers. Thus, metabolic processes involving simple compounds are more likely under frozen conditions during the cold season. To test this theory, we incubated soils collected at Toolik Lake, Alaska before and after snowmelt and freeze-up with a variety of 13C-labelled substrates to track microbial carbon use during cold- and growing-season conditions. Surprisingly, tussock soils respired more protein-derived carbon under frozen pre-thaw conditions than late growing-season conditions. Organic shrub soils respired more glutamic acid-derived carbon under all conditions. Since nitrogen is more abundant in shrub than tussock soils, microbes in the shrub soil can afford to respire glutamic acid as an energy source rather than incorporate it into microbial biomass as a nitrogen source. This study indicates that winter substrate use may not follow predictions made strictly on a thermodynamic basis and hints at the complex nature of cold-tolerant microorganisms.

  11. Coupled cryoconite ecosystem structure-function relationships are revealed by comparing bacterial communities in alpine and Arctic glaciers.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Arwyn; Mur, Luis A J; Girdwood, Susan E; Anesio, Alexandre M; Stibal, Marek; Rassner, Sara M E; Hell, Katherina; Pachebat, Justin A; Post, Barbara; Bussell, Jennifer S; Cameron, Simon J S; Griffith, Gareth Wyn; Hodson, Andrew J; Sattler, Birgit

    2014-08-01

    Cryoconite holes are known as foci of microbial diversity and activity on polar glacier surfaces, but are virtually unexplored microbial habitats in alpine regions. In addition, whether cryoconite community structure reflects ecosystem functionality is poorly understood. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and Fourier transform infrared metabolite fingerprinting of cryoconite from glaciers in Austria, Greenland and Svalbard demonstrated cryoconite bacterial communities are closely correlated with cognate metabolite fingerprints. The influence of bacterial-associated fatty acids and polysaccharides was inferred, underlining the importance of bacterial community structure in the properties of cryoconite. Thus, combined application of T-RFLP and FT-IR metabolite fingerprinting promises high throughput, and hence, rapid assessment of community structure-function relationships. Pyrosequencing revealed Proteobacteria were particularly abundant, with Cyanobacteria likely acting as ecosystem engineers in both alpine and Arctic cryoconite communities. However, despite these generalities, significant differences in bacterial community structures, compositions and metabolomes are found between alpine and Arctic cryoconite habitats, reflecting the impact of local and regional conditions on the challenges of thriving in glacial ecosystems.

  12. Dissolved organic matter composition and bioavailability reflect ecosystem productivity in the Western Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Y.; Fichot, C. G.; Benner, R.

    2012-12-01

    Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved amino acids (TDAA) were measured in high (Chukchi Sea) and low (Beaufort Sea) productivity regions of the western Arctic Ocean to investigate the composition and bioavailability of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Concentrations and DOC-normalized yields of TDAA in Chukchi surface waters were relatively high, indicating an accumulation of bioavailable DOM. High concentrations and yields of TDAA were also observed in the upper halocline of slope and basin waters, indicating off-shelf transport of bioavailable DOM from the Chukchi Sea. In contrast, concentrations and yields of TDAA in Beaufort surface waters were relatively low, indicting DOM was of limited bioavailability. Concentrations and yields of TDAA in the upper halocline of slope and basin waters were also low, suggesting the Beaufort is not a major source of bioavailable DOM to slope and basin waters. In shelf waters of both systems, elevated concentrations and yields of TDAA were often observed in waters with higher chlorophyll concentrations and productivity. Surface concentrations of DOC were similar (p > 0.05) in the two systems despite the contrasting productivity, but concentrations and yields of TDAA were significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in the Chukchi than in the Beaufort. Unlike bulk DOC, TDAA concentrations and yields reflect ecosystem productivity in the western Arctic. The occurrence of elevated bioavailable DOM concentrations in the Chukchi Sea implies an uncoupling between the biological production and utilization of DOM and has important implications for sustaining heterotrophic microbial growth and diversity in oligotrophic waters of the central Arctic basins.

  13. Effects on the structure of Arctic ecosystems in the short- and long-term perspectives.

    PubMed

    Callaghan, Terry V; Björn, Lars Olof; Chernov, Yuri; Chapin, Terry; Christensen, Torben R; Huntley, Brian; Ims, Rolf A; Johansson, Margareta; Jolly, Dyanna; Jonasson, Sven; Matveyeva, Nadya; Panikov, Nicolai; Oechel, Walter; Shaver, Gus; Henttonen, Heikki

    2004-11-01

    Species individualistic responses to warming and increased UV-B radiation are moderated by the responses of neighbors within communities, and trophic interactions within ecosystems. All of these responses lead to changes in ecosystem structure. Experimental manipulation of environmental factors expected to change at high latitudes showed that summer warming of tundra vegetation has generally led to smaller changes than fertilizer addition. Some of the factors manipulated have strong effects on the structure of Arctic ecosystems but the effects vary regionally, with the greatest response of plant and invertebrate communities being observed at the coldest locations. Arctic invertebrate communities are very likely to respond rapidly to warming whereas microbial biomass and nutrient stocks are more stable. Experimentally enhanced UV-B radiation altered the community composition of gram-negative bacteria and fungi, but not that of plants. Increased plant productivity due to warmer summers may dominate food-web dynamics. Trophic interactions of tundra and sub-Arctic forest plant-based food webs are centered on a few dominant animal species which often have cyclic population fluctuations that lead to extremely high peak abundances in some years. Population cycles of small rodents and insect defoliators such as the autumn moth affect the structure and diversity of tundra and forest-tundra vegetation and the viability of a number of specialist predators and parasites. Ice crusting in warmer winters is likely to reduce the accessibility of plant food to lemmings, while deep snow may protect them from snow-surface predators. In Fennoscandia, there is evidence already for a pronounced shift in small rodent community structure and dynamics that have resulted in a decline of predators that specialize in feeding on small rodents. Climate is also likely to alter the role of insect pests in the birch forest system: warmer winters may increase survival of eggs and expand the range

  14. Biogeochemistry and nitrogen cycling in an Arctic, volcanic ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogel, M. L.; Benning, L.; Conrad, P. G.; Eigenbrode, J.; Starke, V.

    2007-12-01

    As part of a study on Mars Analogue environments, the biogeochemistry of Sverrefjellet Volcano, Bocfjorden, Svalbard, was conducted and compared to surrounding glacial, thermal spring, and sedimentary environments. An understanding of how nitrogen might be distributed in a landscape that had extinct or very cold adapted, slow- growing extant organisms should be useful for detecting unknown life forms. From high elevations (900 m) to the base of the volcano (sea level), soil and rock ammonium concentrations were uniformly low, typically less than 1- 3 micrograms per gm of rock or soil. In weathered volcanic soils, reduced nitrogen concentrations were higher, and oxidized nitrogen concentrations lower. The opposite was found in a weathered Devonian sedimentary soil. Plants and lichens growing on volcanic soils have an unusually wide range in N isotopic compositions from -5 to +12‰, a range rarely measured in temperate ecosystems. Nitrogen contents and isotopic compositions of volcanic soils and rocks were strongly influenced by the presence or absence of terrestrial herbivores or marine avifauna with higher concentrations of N and elevated N isotopic compositions occurring as patches in areas immediately influenced by reindeer, Arctic fox ( Alopex lagopus), and marine birds. Because of the extreme conditions in this area, ephemeral deposition of herbivore feces results in a direct and immediate N pulses into the ecosystem. The lateral extent and distribution of marine- derived nitrogen was measured on a landscape scale surrounding an active fox den. Nitrogen was tracked from the bones of marine birds to soil to vegetation. Because of extreme cold, slow biological rates and nitrogen cycling, a mosaic of N patterns develops on the landscape scale.

  15. Exploratory Hydrocarbon Drilling Impacts to Arctic Lake Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Thienpont, Joshua R.; Kokelj, Steven V.; Korosi, Jennifer B.; Cheng, Elisa S.; Desjardins, Cyndy; Kimpe, Linda E.; Blais, Jules M.; Pisaric, Michael FJ.; Smol, John P.

    2013-01-01

    potential for these industrial wastes to impact sensitive Arctic ecosystems. PMID:24223170

  16. Exploratory hydrocarbon drilling impacts to Arctic lake ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Thienpont, Joshua R; Kokelj, Steven V; Korosi, Jennifer B; Cheng, Elisa S; Desjardins, Cyndy; Kimpe, Linda E; Blais, Jules M; Pisaric, Michael F J; Smol, John P

    2013-01-01

    potential for these industrial wastes to impact sensitive Arctic ecosystems.

  17. Monitoring ecosystem dynamics in an Arctic tundra ecosystem using hyperspectral reflectance and a robotic tram system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goswami, Santonu

    Global change, which includes climate change and the impacts of human disturbance, is altering the provision and sustainability of ecosystem goods and services. These changes have the capacity to initiate cascading affects and complex feedbacks through physical, biological and human subsystems and interactions between them. Understanding the future state of the earth system requires improved knowledge of ecosystem dynamics and long term observations of how these are being impacted by global change. Improving remote sensing methods is essential for such advancement because satellite remote sensing is the only means by which landscape to continental-scale change can be observed. The Arctic appears to be impacted by climate change more than any other region on Earth. Arctic terrestrial ecosystems comprise only 6% of the land surface area on Earth yet contain an estimated 25% of global soil organic carbon, most of which is stored in permafrost. If projected increases in plant productivity do not offset forecast losses of soil carbon to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, regional to global greenhouse warming could be enhanced. Soil moisture is an important control of land-atmosphere carbon exchange in arctic terrestrial ecosystems. However, few studies to date have examined using remote sensing, or developed remote sensing methods for observing the complex interplay between soil moisture and plant phenology and productivity in arctic landscapes. This study was motivated by this knowledge gap and addressed the following questions as a contribution to a large scale, multi investigator flooding and draining experiment funded by the National Science Foundation near Barrow, Alaska (71°17'01" N, 156°35'48" W): (1) How can optical remote sensing be used to monitor the surface hydrology of arctic landscapes? (2) What are the spatio-temporal dynamics of land-surface phenology (NDVI) in the study area and do hydrological treatment has any effect on inter-annual patterns? (3

  18. Ecosystem function decays by fungal outbreaks in Antarctic microbial mats.

    PubMed

    Velázquez, David; López-Bueno, Alberto; Aguirre de Cárcer, Daniel; de los Ríos, Asunción; Alcamí, Antonio; Quesada, Antonio

    2016-03-14

    Antarctica harbours a remarkably diverse range of freshwater bodies and terrestrial ecosystems, where microbial mats are considered the most important systems in terms of biomass and metabolic capabilities. We describe the presence of lysis plaque-like macroscopic blighted patches within the predominant microbial mats on Livingston Island (Antarctic Peninsula). Those blighting circles are associated with decay in physiological traits as well as nitrogen depletion and changes in the spatial microstructure; these alterations were likely related to disruption of the biogeochemical gradients within the microbial ecosystem caused by an unusually high fungal abundance and consequent physical alterations. This phenomenon has been evidenced at a time of unprecedented rates of local warming in the Antarctic Peninsula area, and decay of these ecosystems is potentially stimulated by warmer temperatures.

  19. Ecosystem function decays by fungal outbreaks in Antarctic microbial mats

    PubMed Central

    Velázquez, David; López-Bueno, Alberto; Aguirre de Cárcer, Daniel; de los Ríos, Asunción; Alcamí, Antonio; Quesada, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Antarctica harbours a remarkably diverse range of freshwater bodies and terrestrial ecosystems, where microbial mats are considered the most important systems in terms of biomass and metabolic capabilities. We describe the presence of lysis plaque-like macroscopic blighted patches within the predominant microbial mats on Livingston Island (Antarctic Peninsula). Those blighting circles are associated with decay in physiological traits as well as nitrogen depletion and changes in the spatial microstructure; these alterations were likely related to disruption of the biogeochemical gradients within the microbial ecosystem caused by an unusually high fungal abundance and consequent physical alterations. This phenomenon has been evidenced at a time of unprecedented rates of local warming in the Antarctic Peninsula area, and decay of these ecosystems is potentially stimulated by warmer temperatures. PMID:26972923

  20. Changing Arctic ecosystems--the role of ecosystem changes across the Boreal-Arctic transition zone on the distribution and abundance of wildlife populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McNew, Lance; Handel, Colleen; Pearce, John; DeGange, Anthony R.; Holland-Bartels, Leslie; Whalen, Mary

    2013-01-01

    Arctic and boreal ecosystems provide important breeding habitat for more than half of North America’s migratory birds as well as many resident species. Northern landscapes are projected to experience more pronounced climate-related changes in habitat than most other regions. These changes include increases in shrub growth, conversion of tundra to forest, alteration of wetlands, shifts in species’ composition, and changes in the frequency and scale of fires and insect outbreaks. Changing habitat conditions, in turn, may have significant effects on the distribution and abundance of wildlife in these critical northern ecosystems. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting studies in the Boreal–Arctic transition zone of Alaska, an environment of accelerated change in this sensitive margin between Arctic tundra and boreal forest.

  1. Impacts of Human Activity on the Microbial Communities of Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bywaters, K. B.; Burton, A. S.; Wallace, S. L.; Glass, B. J.

    2016-09-01

    The impacts of human activities on microbial communities in arctic environments are poorly understood. This project compares the distribution of microbes at the HMP Mars analog site prior to and after human settlement.

  2. Metagenomics Reveals Microbial Community Composition And Function With Depth In Arctic Permafrost Cores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jansson, J.; Tas, N.; Wu, Y.; Ulrich, C.; Kneafsey, T. J.; Torn, M. S.; Hubbard, S. S.; Chakraborty, R.; Graham, D. E.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2013-12-01

    The Arctic is one of the most climatically sensitive regions on Earth and current surveys show that permafrost degradation is widespread in arctic soils. Biogeochemical feedbacks of permafrost thaw are expected to be dominated by the release of currently stored carbon back into the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. Understanding the dynamics of C release from permafrost requires assessment of microbial functions from different soil compartments. To this end, as part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment in the Arctic, we collected two replicate permafrost cores (1m and 3m deep) from a transitional polygon near Barrow, AK. At this location, permafrost starts from 0.5m in depth and is characterized by variable ice content and higher pH than surface soils. Prior to sectioning, the cores were CT-scanned to determine the physical heterogeneity throughout the cores. In addition to detailed geochemical characterization, we used Illumina MiSeq technology to sequence 16SrRNA genes throughout the depths of the cores at 1 cm intervals. Selected depths were also chosen for metagenome sequencing of total DNA (including phylogenetic and functional genes) using the Illumina HiSeq platform. The 16S rRNA gene sequence data revealed that the microbial community composition and diversity changed dramatically with depth. The microbial diversity decreased sharply below the first few centimeters of the permafrost and then gradually increased in deeper layers. Based on the metagenome sequence data, the permafrost microbial communities were found to contain members with a large metabolic potential for carbon processing, including pathways for fermentation and methanogenesis. The surface active layers had more representatives of Verrucomicrobia (potential methane oxidizers) whereas the deep permafrost layers were dominated by several different species of Actinobacteria. The latter are known to have a diverse metabolic capability and are able to adapt to stress by entering a dormant yet

  3. Influence of the Tussock Growth Form on Arctic Ecosystem Carbon Stocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Curasi, S.; Rocha, A. V.; Sonnentag, O.; Wullschleger, S. D.; Myers-Smith, I. H.; Fetcher, N.; Mack, M. C.; Natali, S.; Loranty, M. M.; Parker, T.

    2015-12-01

    The influence of plant growth forms on ecosystem carbon (C) cycling has been under appreciated. In arctic tundra, environmental factors and plant traits of the sedge Eriophorum vaginatum cause the formation of mounds that are dense amalgamations of belowground C called tussocks. Tussocks have important implications for arctic ecosystem biogeochemistry and C stocks, but the environmental and biological factors controlling their size and distribution across the landscape are poorly understood. In order to better understand how landscape variation in tussock size and density impact ecosystem C stocks, we formed the Carbon in Arctic Tussock Tundra (CATT) network and recruited an international team to sample locations across the arctic. The CATT network provided a latitudinal and longitudinal gradient along which to improve our understanding of tussocks' influence on ecosystem structure and function. CATT data revealed important insights into tussock formation across the arctic. Tussock density generally declined with latitude, and tussock size exhibited substantial variation across sites. The relationship between height and diameter was similar across CATT sites indicating that both biological and environmental factors control tussock formation. At some sites, C in tussocks comprised a substantial percentage of ecosystem C stocks that may be vulnerable to climate change. It is concluded that the loss of this growth form would offset C gains from projected plant functional shifts from graminoid to shrub tundra. This work highlights the role of plant growth forms on the magnitude and retention of ecosystem C stocks.

  4. Predicted responses of arctic and alpine ecosystems to altered seasonality under climate change.

    PubMed

    Ernakovich, Jessica G; Hopping, Kelly A; Berdanier, Aaron B; Simpson, Rodney T; Kachergis, Emily J; Steltzer, Heidi; Wallenstein, Matthew D

    2014-10-01

    Global climate change is already having significant impacts on arctic and alpine ecosystems, and ongoing increases in temperature and altered precipitation patterns will affect the strong seasonal patterns that characterize these temperature-limited systems. The length of the potential growing season in these tundra environments is increasing due to warmer temperatures and earlier spring snow melt. Here, we compare current and projected climate and ecological data from 20 Northern Hemisphere sites to identify how seasonal changes in the physical environment due to climate change will alter the seasonality of arctic and alpine ecosystems. We find that although arctic and alpine ecosystems appear similar under historical climate conditions, climate change will lead to divergent responses, particularly in the spring and fall shoulder seasons. As seasonality changes in the Arctic, plants will advance the timing of spring phenological events, which could increase plant nutrient uptake, production, and ecosystem carbon (C) gain. In alpine regions, photoperiod will constrain spring plant phenology, limiting the extent to which the growing season can lengthen, especially if decreased water availability from earlier snow melt and warmer summer temperatures lead to earlier senescence. The result could be a shorter growing season with decreased production and increased nutrient loss. These contrasting alpine and arctic ecosystem responses will have cascading effects on ecosystems, affecting community structure, biotic interactions, and biogeochemistry.

  5. Aboveground and belowground responses to nutrient additions and herbivore exclusion in Arctic tundra ecosystems in northern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, J. C.; Gough, L.; Simpson, R.; Johnson, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    The Arctic has experienced significant increased regional warming over the past 30 years. Warming generally increases tundra soil nutrient availability by creating a more favorable environment for plant growth, decomposition and nutrient mineralization. Aboveground there has been a "greening" of the Arctic with increased net primary productivity (NPP), and an increase in woody vegetation. Concurrent with the changes aboveground has been an increase in root growth at lower depths and a loss of soil organic C (40 -100 g C m-2 yr-1). Given that arctic soils contain 14% of the global soil C pool, understanding the mechanisms behind shifts of this magnitude that are changing arctic soils from a net sink to a net source of atmospheric C is critical. We took an integrated multi-trophic level approach to examine how altering soil nutrients and mammalian herbivore activity affects vegetation, soil fauna, and microbial communities as well as soil physical characteristics in moist acidic (MAT) and dry heath (DH) tundra. Our work was conducted at the Arctic LTER site in northern Alaska. We sampled the nutrient (controls and annual N+P additions) and herbivore (controls and exclosures) manipulations established in 1996 after 10 years of treatment. Models that incorporated the biomass estimates from the field were used to characterize the trophic structure of the belowground food web and to estimate carbon flux among soil organisms and C-mineralization rates. Both MAT and DH exhibited significant increases in NPP and root growth and changes in vegetation structure with transitions from a mixed community to deciduous shrubs in MAT and from lichens to grasses and shrubs in DH, with nutrient additions and herbivore exclosures. Belowground responses to the treatments were dependent on ecosystem type, but exposed alterations in trophic structure that included changes in microbial biomass, the establishment of microbivorous enchytreaids, increases in root-feeding nematodes, and

  6. The Forminalized Rat: A Convenient Microbial Ecosystem.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lee, Adrian

    1984-01-01

    Presents a series of experiments built around the bacteria found in the intestinal tract of formalinized rats as a model for discussing microbial ecology. Describes methods of examination of intestinal content, student tasks, and discussion questions; also gives a challenge problem to solve.

  7. Representation of Dormant and Active Microbial Dynamics for Ecosystem Modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, Gangsheng; Mayes, Melanie; Gu, Lianhong; Schadt, Christopher Warren

    2014-01-01

    Dormancy is an essential strategy for microorganisms to cope with environmental stress. However, global ecosystem models typically ignore microbial dormancy, resulting in notable model uncertainties. To facilitate the consideration of dormancy in these large-scale models, we propose a new microbial physiology component that works for a wide range of substrate availabilities. This new model is based on microbial physiological states and the major parameters are the maximum specific growth and maintenance rates of active microbes and the ratio of dormant to active maintenance rates. A major improvement of our model over extant models is that it can explain the low active microbial fractions commonly observed in undisturbed soils. Our new model shows that the exponentially-increasing respiration from substrate-induced respiration experiments can only be used to determine the maximum specific growth rate and initial active microbial biomass, while the respiration data representing both exponentially-increasing and non-exponentially-increasing phases can robustly determine a range of key parameters including the initial total live biomass, initial active fraction, the maximum specific growth and maintenance rates, and the half-saturation constant. Our new model can be incorporated into existing ecosystem models to account for dormancy in microbially-driven processes and to provide improved estimates of microbial activities.

  8. Nitrogen transformations in stratified aquatic microbial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Revsbech, Niels Peter; Risgaard-Petersen, Nils; Schramm, Andreas; Nielsen, Lars Peter

    2006-11-01

    New analytical methods such as advanced molecular techniques and microsensors have resulted in new insights about how nitrogen transformations in stratified microbial systems such as sediments and biofilms are regulated at a microm-mm scale. A large and ever-expanding knowledge base about nitrogen fixation, nitrification, denitrification, and dissimilatory reduction of nitrate to ammonium, and about the microorganisms performing the processes, has been produced by use of these techniques. During the last decade the discovery of anammmox bacteria and migrating, nitrate accumulating bacteria performing dissimilatory reduction of nitrate to ammonium have given new dimensions to the understanding of nitrogen cycling in nature, and the occurrence of these organisms and processes in stratified microbial communities will be described in detail.

  9. Changing Arctic ecosystems: sea ice decline, permafrost thaw, and benefits for geese

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Paul; Whalen, Mary; Pearce, John M.

    2014-01-01

    Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) strives to inform resource management decisions for Arctic Alaska by providing scientific information on current and future ecosystem response to a warming climate. A key area for the USGS CAE initiative has been the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska. This region has experienced a warming trend over the past 30 years, leading to reductions in sea ice and thawing of permafrost. Loss of sea ice has increased ocean wave action, leading to erosion and salt water inundation of coastal habitats. Saltwater tolerant plants are now thriving in these areas and this appears to be a positive outcome for geese in the Arctic. This finding is contrary to the deleterious effects that declining sea ice is having on habitats of ice-dependent animals, such as polar bear and walrus.

  10. Microbial Dysbiosis: Rethinking Disease in Marine Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Egan, Suhelen; Gardiner, Melissa

    2016-01-01

    With growing environmental pressures placed on our marine habitats there is concern that the prevalence and severity of diseases affecting marine organisms will increase. Yet relative to terrestrial systems, we know little about the underlying causes of many of these diseases. Moreover, factors such as saprophytic colonizers and a lack of baseline data on healthy individuals make it difficult to accurately assess the role of specific microbial pathogens in disease states. Emerging evidence in the field of medicine suggests that a growing number of human diseases result from a microbiome imbalance (or dysbiosis), questioning the traditional view of a singular pathogenic agent. Here we discuss the possibility that many diseases seen in marine systems are, similarly, the result of microbial dysbiosis and the rise of opportunistic or polymicrobial infections. Thus, understanding and managing disease in the future will require us to also rethink definitions of disease and pathogenesis for marine systems. We suggest that a targeted, multidisciplinary approach that addresses the questions of microbial symbiosis in both healthy and diseased states, and at that the level of the holobiont, will be key to progress in this area. PMID:27446031

  11. Microbial Dysbiosis: Rethinking Disease in Marine Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Egan, Suhelen; Gardiner, Melissa

    2016-01-01

    With growing environmental pressures placed on our marine habitats there is concern that the prevalence and severity of diseases affecting marine organisms will increase. Yet relative to terrestrial systems, we know little about the underlying causes of many of these diseases. Moreover, factors such as saprophytic colonizers and a lack of baseline data on healthy individuals make it difficult to accurately assess the role of specific microbial pathogens in disease states. Emerging evidence in the field of medicine suggests that a growing number of human diseases result from a microbiome imbalance (or dysbiosis), questioning the traditional view of a singular pathogenic agent. Here we discuss the possibility that many diseases seen in marine systems are, similarly, the result of microbial dysbiosis and the rise of opportunistic or polymicrobial infections. Thus, understanding and managing disease in the future will require us to also rethink definitions of disease and pathogenesis for marine systems. We suggest that a targeted, multidisciplinary approach that addresses the questions of microbial symbiosis in both healthy and diseased states, and at that the level of the holobiont, will be key to progress in this area.

  12. Biogeography of serpentinite-hosted microbial ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brazelton, W.; Cardace, D.; Fruh-Green, G.; Lang, S. Q.; Lilley, M. D.; Morrill, P. L.; Szponar, N.; Twing, K. I.; Schrenk, M. O.

    2012-12-01

    Ultramafic rocks in the Earth's mantle represent a tremendous reservoir of carbon and reducing power. Upon tectonic uplift and exposure to fluid flow, serpentinization of these materials generates copious energy, sustains abiogenic synthesis of organic molecules, and releases hydrogen gas (H2). To date, however, the "serpentinite microbiome" is poorly constrained- almost nothing is known about the microbial diversity endemic to rocks actively undergoing serpentinization. Through the Census of Deep Life, we have obtained 16S rRNA gene pyrotag sequences from fluids and rocks from serpentinizing ophiolites in California, Canada, and Italy. The samples include high pH serpentinite springs, presumably representative of deeper environments within the ophiolite complex, wells which directly access subsurface aquifers, and rocks obtained from drill cores into serpentinites. These data represent a unique opportunity to examine biogeographic patterns among a restricted set of microbial taxa that are adapted to similar environmental conditions and are inhabiting sites with related geological histories. In general, our results point to potentially H2-utilizing Betaproteobacteria thriving in shallow, oxic-anoxic transition zones and anaerobic Clostridia thriving in anoxic, deep subsurface habitats. These general taxonomic and biogeochemical trends were also observed in seafloor Lost City hydrothermal chimneys, indicating that we are beginning to identify a core serpentinite microbial community that spans marine and continental settings.

  13. Population-reaction model and microbial experimental ecosystems for understanding hierarchical dynamics of ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Hosoda, Kazufumi; Tsuda, Soichiro; Kadowaki, Kohmei; Nakamura, Yutaka; Nakano, Tadashi; Ishii, Kojiro

    2016-02-01

    Understanding ecosystem dynamics is crucial as contemporary human societies face ecosystem degradation. One of the challenges that needs to be recognized is the complex hierarchical dynamics. Conventional dynamic models in ecology often represent only the population level and have yet to include the dynamics of the sub-organism level, which makes an ecosystem a complex adaptive system that shows characteristic behaviors such as resilience and regime shifts. The neglect of the sub-organism level in the conventional dynamic models would be because integrating multiple hierarchical levels makes the models unnecessarily complex unless supporting experimental data are present. Now that large amounts of molecular and ecological data are increasingly accessible in microbial experimental ecosystems, it is worthwhile to tackle the questions of their complex hierarchical dynamics. Here, we propose an approach that combines microbial experimental ecosystems and a hierarchical dynamic model named population-reaction model. We present a simple microbial experimental ecosystem as an example and show how the system can be analyzed by a population-reaction model. We also show that population-reaction models can be applied to various ecological concepts, such as predator-prey interactions, climate change, evolution, and stability of diversity. Our approach will reveal a path to the general understanding of various ecosystems and organisms.

  14. Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystem research, 1986-1987

    PubMed

    Friedmann, E I; Meyer, M A

    1987-01-01

    The apparent lifelessness of the Ross Desert is in marked contrast to the diversity of cryptoendolithic microorganisms inhabiting the interstices of sandstone rocks. The endolithic habitat provides a protective niche for lichens, bacteria, algae, and fungi, enabling them to exist in an extremely dry and cold climate. Composed solely of microorganisms living under the surface of rocks and totally lacking animals and protozoa, this ecosystem is controlled by measurable physical variables and well suited for ecosystem study and modeling. The work of the antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystem research group has involved physical measurements of nanoclimate (microbial environment inside rocks) (Friedmann, McKay, and Nienow 1987), taxonomy (Darling, Friedmann, and Broady 1987; Hale 1987), microdistribution, organism-substrate interactions including the ongoing process of fossilization (Friedmann and Weed 1987), physiological ecology, and quantification of the nitrogen economy.

  15. Community history affects the predictability of microbial ecosystem development.

    PubMed

    Pagaling, Eulyn; Strathdee, Fiona; Spears, Bryan M; Cates, Michael E; Allen, Rosalind J; Free, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Microbial communities mediate crucial biogeochemical, biomedical and biotechnological processes, yet our understanding of their assembly, and our ability to control its outcome, remain poor. Existing evidence presents conflicting views on whether microbial ecosystem assembly is predictable, or inherently unpredictable. We address this issue using a well-controlled laboratory model system, in which source microbial communities colonize a pristine environment to form complex, nutrient-cycling ecosystems. When the source communities colonize a novel environment, final community composition and function (as measured by redox potential) are unpredictable, although a signature of the community's previous history is maintained. However, when the source communities are pre-conditioned to their new habitat, community development is more reproducible. This situation contrasts with some studies of communities of macro-organisms, where strong selection under novel environmental conditions leads to reproducible community structure, whereas communities under weaker selection show more variability. Our results suggest that the microbial rare biosphere may have an important role in the predictability of microbial community development, and that pre-conditioning may help to reduce unpredictability in the design of microbial communities for biotechnological applications.

  16. Community history affects the predictability of microbial ecosystem development

    PubMed Central

    Pagaling, Eulyn; Strathdee, Fiona; Spears, Bryan M; Cates, Michael E; Allen, Rosalind J; Free, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Microbial communities mediate crucial biogeochemical, biomedical and biotechnological processes, yet our understanding of their assembly, and our ability to control its outcome, remain poor. Existing evidence presents conflicting views on whether microbial ecosystem assembly is predictable, or inherently unpredictable. We address this issue using a well-controlled laboratory model system, in which source microbial communities colonize a pristine environment to form complex, nutrient-cycling ecosystems. When the source communities colonize a novel environment, final community composition and function (as measured by redox potential) are unpredictable, although a signature of the community's previous history is maintained. However, when the source communities are pre-conditioned to their new habitat, community development is more reproducible. This situation contrasts with some studies of communities of macro-organisms, where strong selection under novel environmental conditions leads to reproducible community structure, whereas communities under weaker selection show more variability. Our results suggest that the microbial rare biosphere may have an important role in the predictability of microbial community development, and that pre-conditioning may help to reduce unpredictability in the design of microbial communities for biotechnological applications. PMID:23985743

  17. Rough-Legged Buzzards, Arctic Foxes and Red Foxes in a Tundra Ecosystem without Rodents

    PubMed Central

    Pokrovsky, Ivan; Ehrich, Dorothée; Ims, Rolf A.; Kondratyev, Alexander V.; Kruckenberg, Helmut; Kulikova, Olga; Mihnevich, Julia; Pokrovskaya, Liya; Shienok, Alexander

    2015-01-01

    Small rodents with multi-annual population cycles strongly influence the dynamics of food webs, and in particular predator-prey interactions, across most of the tundra biome. Rodents are however absent from some arctic islands, and studies on performance of arctic predators under such circumstances may be very instructive since rodent cycles have been predicted to collapse in a warming Arctic. Here we document for the first time how three normally rodent-dependent predator species—rough-legged buzzard, arctic fox and red fox – perform in a low-arctic ecosystem with no rodents. During six years (in 2006-2008 and 2011-2013) we studied diet and breeding performance of these predators in the rodent-free Kolguev Island in Arctic Russia. The rough-legged buzzards, previously known to be a small rodent specialist, have only during the last two decades become established on Kolguev Island. The buzzards successfully breed on the island at stable low density, but with high productivity based on goslings and willow ptarmigan as their main prey – altogether representing a novel ecological situation for this species. Breeding density of arctic fox varied from year to year, but with stable productivity based on mainly geese as prey. The density dynamic of the arctic fox appeared to be correlated with the date of spring arrival of the geese. Red foxes breed regularly on the island but in very low numbers that appear to have been unchanged over a long period – a situation that resemble what has been recently documented from Arctic America. Our study suggests that the three predators found breeding on Kolguev Island possess capacities for shifting to changing circumstances in low-arctic ecosystem as long as other small - medium sized terrestrial herbivores are present in good numbers. PMID:25692786

  18. Rough-legged buzzards, Arctic foxes and red foxes in a tundra ecosystem without rodents.

    PubMed

    Pokrovsky, Ivan; Ehrich, Dorothée; Ims, Rolf A; Kondratyev, Alexander V; Kruckenberg, Helmut; Kulikova, Olga; Mihnevich, Julia; Pokrovskaya, Liya; Shienok, Alexander

    2015-01-01

    Small rodents with multi-annual population cycles strongly influence the dynamics of food webs, and in particular predator-prey interactions, across most of the tundra biome. Rodents are however absent from some arctic islands, and studies on performance of arctic predators under such circumstances may be very instructive since rodent cycles have been predicted to collapse in a warming Arctic. Here we document for the first time how three normally rodent-dependent predator species-rough-legged buzzard, arctic fox and red fox - perform in a low-arctic ecosystem with no rodents. During six years (in 2006-2008 and 2011-2013) we studied diet and breeding performance of these predators in the rodent-free Kolguev Island in Arctic Russia. The rough-legged buzzards, previously known to be a small rodent specialist, have only during the last two decades become established on Kolguev Island. The buzzards successfully breed on the island at stable low density, but with high productivity based on goslings and willow ptarmigan as their main prey - altogether representing a novel ecological situation for this species. Breeding density of arctic fox varied from year to year, but with stable productivity based on mainly geese as prey. The density dynamic of the arctic fox appeared to be correlated with the date of spring arrival of the geese. Red foxes breed regularly on the island but in very low numbers that appear to have been unchanged over a long period - a situation that resemble what has been recently documented from Arctic America. Our study suggests that the three predators found breeding on Kolguev Island possess capacities for shifting to changing circumstances in low-arctic ecosystem as long as other small - medium sized terrestrial herbivores are present in good numbers.

  19. Arctic Ocean microbial community structure before and after the 2007 record sea ice minimum.

    PubMed

    Comeau, André M; Li, William K W; Tremblay, Jean-Éric; Carmack, Eddy C; Lovejoy, Connie

    2011-01-01

    Increasing global temperatures are having a profound impact in the Arctic, including the dramatic loss of multiyear sea ice in 2007 that has continued to the present. The majority of life in the Arctic is microbial and the consequences of climate-mediated changes on microbial marine food webs, which are responsible for biogeochemical cycling and support higher trophic levels, are unknown. We examined microbial communities over time by using high-throughput sequencing of microbial DNA collected between 2003 and 2010 from the subsurface chlorophyll maximum (SCM) layer of the Beaufort Sea (Canadian Arctic). We found that overall this layer has freshened and concentrations of nitrate, the limiting nutrient for photosynthetic production in Arctic seas, have decreased. We compared microbial communities from before and after the record September 2007 sea ice minimum and detected significant differences in communities from all three domains of life. In particular, there were significant changes in species composition of Eukarya, with ciliates becoming more common and heterotrophic marine stramenopiles (MASTs) accounting for a smaller proportion of sequences retrieved after 2007. Within the Archaea, Marine Group I Thaumarchaeota, which earlier represented up to 60% of the Archaea sequences in this layer, have declined to <10%. Bacterial communities overall were less diverse after 2007, with a significant decrease of the Bacteroidetes. These significant shifts suggest that the microbial food webs are sensitive to physical oceanographic changes such as those occurring in the Canadian Arctic over the past decade.

  20. Effects on the function of Arctic ecosystems in the short- and long-term perspectives.

    PubMed

    Callaghan, Terry V; Björn, Lars Olof; Chernov, Yuri; Chapin, Terry; Christensen, Torben R; Huntley, Brian; Ims, Rolf A; Johansson, Margareta; Jolly, Dyanna; Jonasson, Sven; Matveyeva, Nadya; Panikov, Nicolai; Oechel, Walter; Shaver, Gus

    2004-11-01

    Historically, the function of Arctic ecosystems in terms of cycles of nutrients and carbon has led to low levels of primary production and exchanges of energy, water and greenhouse gases have led to low local and regional cooling. Sequestration of carbon from atmospheric CO2, in extensive, cold organic soils and the high albedo from low, snow-covered vegetation have had impacts on regional climate. However, many aspects of the functioning of Arctic ecosystems are sensitive to changes in climate and its impacts on biodiversity. The current Arctic climate results in slow rates of organic matter decomposition. Arctic ecosystems therefore tend to accumulate organic matter and elements despite low inputs. As a result, soil-available elements like nitrogen and phosphorus are key limitations to increases in carbon fixation and further biomass and organic matter accumulation. Climate warming is expected to increase carbon and element turnover, particularly in soils, which may lead to initial losses of elements but eventual, slow recovery. Individual species and species diversity have clear impacts on element inputs and retention in Arctic ecosystems. Effects of increased CO2 and UV-B on whole ecosystems, on the other hand, are likely to be small although effects on plant tissue chemisty, decomposition and nitrogen fixation may become important in the long-term. Cycling of carbon in trace gas form is mainly as CO2 and CH4. Most carbon loss is in the form of CO2, produced by both plants and soil biota. Carbon emissions as methane from wet and moist tundra ecosystems are about 5% of emissions as CO2 and are responsive to warming in the absence of any other changes. Winter processes and vegetation type also affect CH4 emissions as well as exchanges of energy between biosphere and atmosphere. Arctic ecosystems exhibit the largest seasonal changes in energy exchange of any terrestrial ecosystem because of the large changes in albedo from late winter, when snow reflects most

  1. Counterintuitive carbon-to-nutrient coupling in an Arctic pelagic ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Thingstad, T F; Bellerby, R G J; Bratbak, G; Børsheim, K Y; Egge, J K; Heldal, M; Larsen, A; Neill, C; Nejstgaard, J; Norland, S; Sandaa, R-A; Skjoldal, E F; Tanaka, T; Thyrhaug, R; Töpper, B

    2008-09-18

    Predicting the ocean's role in the global carbon cycle requires an understanding of the stoichiometric coupling between carbon and growth-limiting elements in biogeochemical processes. A recent addition to such knowledge is that the carbon/nitrogen ratio of inorganic consumption and release of dissolved organic matter may increase in a high-CO(2) world. This will, however, yield a negative feedback on atmospheric CO(2) only if the extra organic material escapes mineralization within the photic zone. Here we show, in the context of an Arctic pelagic ecosystem, how the fate and effects of added degradable organic carbon depend critically on the state of the microbial food web. When bacterial growth rate was limited by mineral nutrients, extra organic carbon accumulated in the system. When bacteria were limited by organic carbon, however, addition of labile dissolved organic carbon reduced phytoplankton biomass and activity and also the rate at which total organic carbon accumulated, explained as the result of stimulated bacterial competition for mineral nutrients. This counterintuitive 'more organic carbon gives less organic carbon' effect was particularly pronounced in diatom-dominated systems where the carbon/mineral nutrient ratio in phytoplankton production was high. Our results highlight how descriptions of present and future states of the oceanic carbon cycle require detailed understanding of the stoichiometric coupling between carbon and growth-limiting mineral nutrients in both autotrophic and heterotrophic processes.

  2. Acclimation of ecosystem CO2 exchange in the Alaskan Arctic in response to decadal climate warming

    PubMed

    Oechel; Vourlitis; Hastings; Zulueta; Hinzman; Kane

    2000-08-31

    Long-term sequestration of carbon in Alaskan Arctic tundra ecosystems was reversed by warming and drying of the climate in the early 1980s, resulting in substantial losses of terrestrial carbon. But recent measurements suggest that continued warming and drying has resulted in diminished CO2 efflux, and in some cases, summer CO2 sink activity. Here we compile summer CO2 flux data for two Arctic ecosystems from 1960 to the end of 1998. The results show that a return to summer sink activity has come during the warmest and driest period observed over the past four decades, and indicates a previously undemonstrated capacity for ecosystems to metabolically adjust to long-term (decadal or longer) changes in climate. The mechanisms involved are likely to include changes in nutrient cycling, physiological acclimation, and population and community reorganization. Nevertheless, despite the observed acclimation, the Arctic ecosystems studied are still annual net sources of CO2 to the atmosphere of at least 40 g C m(-2) yr(-1), due to winter release of CO2, implying that further climate change may still exacerbate CO2 emissions from Arctic ecosystems.

  3. Assembly-driven community genomics of a hypersaline microbial ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Podell, Sheila; Ugalde, Juan A; Narasingarao, Priya; Banfield, Jillian F; Heidelberg, Karla B; Allen, Eric E

    2013-01-01

    Microbial populations inhabiting a natural hypersaline lake ecosystem in Lake Tyrrell, Victoria, Australia, have been characterized using deep metagenomic sampling, iterative de novo assembly, and multidimensional phylogenetic binning. Composite genomes representing habitat-specific microbial populations were reconstructed for eleven different archaea and one bacterium, comprising between 0.6 and 14.1% of the planktonic community. Eight of the eleven archaeal genomes were from microbial species without previously cultured representatives. These new genomes provide habitat-specific reference sequences enabling detailed, lineage-specific compartmentalization of predicted functional capabilities and cellular properties associated with both dominant and less abundant community members, including organisms previously known only by their 16S rRNA sequences. Together, these data provide a comprehensive, culture-independent genomic blueprint for ecosystem-wide analysis of protein functions, population structure, and lifestyles of co-existing, co-evolving microbial groups within the same natural habitat. The "assembly-driven" community genomic approach demonstrated in this study advances our ability to push beyond single gene investigations, and promotes genome-scale reconstructions as a tangible goal in the quest to define the metabolic, ecological, and evolutionary dynamics that underpin environmental microbial diversity.

  4. Fire Effects on Microbial Enzyme Activities in Larch Forests of the Siberian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ludwig, S.; Alexander, H. D.; Bulygina, E. B.; Mann, P. J.; Natali, S.

    2012-12-01

    Arctic forest ecosystems are warming at an accelerated rate relative to lower latitudes, with global implications for C cycling within these regions. As climate continues to warm and dry, wildfire frequency and severity are predicted to increase, creating a positive feedback to climate warming. Increased fire activity will also influence the microenvironment experienced by soil microbes in disturbed soils. Because soil microbes regulate carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere, it is important to understand microbial response to fires, particularly in the understudied larch forests in the Siberian Arctic. In this project, we created experimental burn plots in a mature larch forest in the Kolyma River watershed of Northeastern Siberia. Plots were burned at several treatments: control (no burn), low, moderate, and severe. After, 1 and 8 d post-fire, we measured soil organic layer depth, soil organic matter (SOM) content, soil moisture, and CO2 flux from the plots. Additionally, we leached soils and measured dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total dissolved nitrogen (TDN), NH4, NO3, soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM). Furthermore, we measured extracellular activity of four enzymes involved in soil C and nutrient cycling (leucine aminopeptidase (LAP), β-glucosidase, phosphatase, and phenol oxidase). One day post-fire, LAP activity was similarly low in all treatments, but by 8 d post-fire, LAP activity was lower in burned plots compared to control plots, likely due to increased nitrogen content with increasing burn severity. Phosphatase activity decreased with burn severity 1 d post-fire, but after 8 d, moderate and severe burn plots exhibited increased phosphatase activity. Coupled with trends in LAP activity, this suggests a switch in nutrient limitation from N to phosphorus that is more pronounced with burn severity. β-glucosidase activity similarly decreased with burn

  5. Growing season and spatial variations of carbon fluxes of Arctic and boreal ecosystems in Alaska (USA).

    PubMed

    Ueyama, Masahito; Iwata, Hiroki; Harazono, Yoshinobu; Euskirchen, Eugénie S; Oechel, Walter C; Zona, Donatella

    2013-12-01

    To better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of CO2 exchange between Arctic ecosystems and the atmosphere, we synthesized CO2 flux data, measured in eight Arctic tundra and five boreal ecosystems across Alaska (USA) and identified growing season and spatial variations of the fluxes and environmental controlling factors. For the period examined, all of the boreal and seven of the eight Arctic tundra ecosystems acted as CO2 sinks during the growing season. Seasonal patterns of the CO2 fluxes were mostly determined by air temperature, except ecosystem respiration (RE) of tundra. For the tundra ecosystems, the spatial variation of gross primary productivity (GPP) and net CO2 sink strength were explained by growing season length, whereas RE increased with growing degree days. For boreal ecosystems, the spatial variation of net CO2 sink strength was mostly determined by recovery of GPP from fire disturbance. Satellite-derived leaf area index (LAI) was a better index to explain the spatial variations of GPP and NEE of the ecosystems in Alaska than were the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI). Multiple regression models using growing degree days, growing season length, and satellite-derived LAI explained much of the spatial variation in GPP and net CO2 exchange among the tundra and boreal ecosystems. The high sensitivity of the sink strength to growing season length indicated that the tundra ecosystem could increase CO2 sink strength under expected future warming, whereas ecosystem compositions associated with fire disturbance could play a major role in carbon release from boreal ecosystems.

  6. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens.

    PubMed

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D; Fafard, Paul M; Markham, John H

    2016-04-05

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ(15)N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra.

  7. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-04-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra.

  8. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    PubMed Central

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  9. Pan-Arctic modelling of net ecosystem exchange of CO2.

    PubMed

    Shaver, G R; Rastetter, E B; Salmon, V; Street, L E; van de Weg, M J; Rocha, A; van Wijk, M T; Williams, M

    2013-08-19

    Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of C varies greatly among Arctic ecosystems. Here, we show that approximately 75 per cent of this variation can be accounted for in a single regression model that predicts NEE as a function of leaf area index (LAI), air temperature and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). The model was developed in concert with a survey of the light response of NEE in Arctic and subarctic tundras in Alaska, Greenland, Svalbard and Sweden. Model parametrizations based on data collected in one part of the Arctic can be used to predict NEE in other parts of the Arctic with accuracy similar to that of predictions based on data collected in the same site where NEE is predicted. The principal requirement for the dataset is that it should contain a sufficiently wide range of measurements of NEE at both high and low values of LAI, air temperature and PAR, to properly constrain the estimates of model parameters. Canopy N content can also be substituted for leaf area in predicting NEE, with equal or greater accuracy, but substitution of soil temperature for air temperature does not improve predictions. Overall, the results suggest a remarkable convergence in regulation of NEE in diverse ecosystem types throughout the Arctic.

  10. Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Goods and Services in a Melting Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Garra, T.

    2014-12-01

    The Arctic region is composed of unique ecosystems that provide a range of goods and services to local and global populations. However, Arctic sea-ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, threatening many of these ecosystems and the services they provide. Yet as the ice melts and certain goods and services are lost, other resources such as oil and minerals will become accessible. The question is: how do the losses compare with the opportunities? And how are the losses and potential gains likely to be distributed? To address these questions, this study provides a preliminary assessment of the quantity, distribution and economic value of the ecosystem services (ES) provided by Arctic ecosystems, both now and in the future given a scenario of sure climate change. Using biophysical and economic data from existing studies (and some primary data), preliminary estimates indicate that the Arctic currently provides 357m/yr (in 2014 US) in subsistence hunting value to local communities, of which reindeer/caribou comprise 83%. Reindeer herding provides 110m/yr to Arctic communities. Interestingly, 'non-use (existence/cultural) values' associated with Arctic species are very high at 11bn/yr to members of Arctic states. The Arctic also provides ES that accrue to the global community: oil resources (North Slope; 5bn profits in 2013), commercial fisheries ( 515mn/yr) and most importantly, climate regulation services. Recent models (Whiteman; Euskirchen) estimate that the loss of climate regulation services provided by Arctic ice will cost 200 - 500bn/yr, a value which dwarfs all others. Assuming no change in atmospheric temperature compared to 2014, the net present value of the Arctic by 2050 (1.4% discount rate) comes to over $9 trillion. However, given Wang and Overland (2009) predictions of ice-free summers by 2037, we expect many of these benefits will be lost. For example, it is fairly well-established that endemic species, such as polar bears, will decline with sea-ice melt

  11. Mercury in Arctic Marine Ecosystems: Sources, Pathways, and Exposure

    PubMed Central

    Kirk, Jane L.; Lehnherr, Igor; Andersson, Maria; Braune, Birgit M.; Chan, Laurie; Dastoor, Ashu P.; Durnford, Dorothy; Gleason, Amber L.; Loseto, Lisa L.; Steffen, Alexandra; St. Louis, Vincent L.

    2014-01-01

    Mercury in the Arctic is an important environmental and human health issue. The reliance of Northern Peoples on traditional foods, such as marine mammals, for subsistence means that they are particularly at risk from mercury exposure. The cycling of mercury in Arctic marine systems is reviewed here, with emphasis placed on the key sources, pathways and processes which regulate mercury levels in marine food webs and ultimately the exposure of human populations to this contaminant. While many knowledge gaps exist limiting our ability to make strong conclusions, it appears that the long range transport of mercury from Asian emissions is an important source of atmospheric Hg to the Arctic and that mercury methylation resulting in monomethylmercury production (an organic form of mercury which is both toxic and bioaccumulated) in Arctic marine waters is the principal source of mercury incorporated into food webs. Mercury concentrations in biological organisms have increased since the onset of the industrial age and are controlled by a combination of abiotic factors (e.g., monomethylmercury supply), food web dynamics and structure, and animal behavior (e.g., habitat selection and feeding behavior). Finally, although some Northern Peoples have high mercury concentrations of mercury in their blood and hair, harvesting and consuming traditional foods has many nutritional, social, cultural and physical health benefits which must be considered in risk management and communication. PMID:23102902

  12. Cryoconite and Ice-bubble Microbial Ecosystems in Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoover, Richard B.; Rose, M. Franklin (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    During the Antarctica 2000 Expedition samples of rocks and ice bubbles entrained in ice were collected from the blue ice fields near the Moulton Escarpment of the Thiel Mountains (85S, 94W) and the Morris Moraine of the Patriot Hills (80S, 8 1 W) Ellsworth Mountains of Antarctica. Investigation of the microbiota of these cryoconite and ice bubble ecosystems are now being conducted to help refine chemical and morphological biomarkers of potential significance to Astrobiology. The Antarctica 2000 Expedition will be discussed and the preliminary results of the studies of the ice bubble and cryoconite microbial ecosystems discussed. Recent ESEM images of the Antarctic microbiota will be presented a the relevance of ice ecosystems to Astrobiology will be discussed.

  13. Landscape Characterization of Arctic Ecosystems Using Data Mining Algorithms and Large Geospatial Datasets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langford, Z. L.; Kumar, J.; Hoffman, F. M.

    2015-12-01

    Observations indicate that over the past several decades, landscape processes in the Arctic have been changing or intensifying. A dynamic Arctic landscape has the potential to alter ecosystems across a broad range of scales. Accurate characterization is useful to understand the properties and organization of the landscape, optimal sampling network design, measurement and process upscaling and to establish a landscape-based framework for multi-scale modeling of ecosystem processes. This study seeks to delineate the landscape at Seward Peninsula of Alaska into ecoregions using large volumes (terabytes) of high spatial resolution satellite remote-sensing data. Defining high-resolution ecoregion boundaries is difficult because many ecosystem processes in Arctic ecosystems occur at small local to regional scales, which are often resolved in by coarse resolution satellites (e.g., MODIS). We seek to use data-fusion techniques and data analytics algorithms applied to Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR), Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR), Satellite for Observation of Earth (SPOT), WorldView-2, WorldView-3, and QuickBird-2 to develop high-resolution (˜5m) ecoregion maps for multiple time periods. Traditional analysis methods and algorithms are insufficient for analyzing and synthesizing such large geospatial data sets, and those algorithms rarely scale out onto large distributed- memory parallel computer systems. We seek to develop computationally efficient algorithms and techniques using high-performance computing for characterization of Arctic landscapes. We will apply a variety of data analytics algorithms, such as cluster analysis, complex object-based image analysis (COBIA), and neural networks. We also propose to use representativeness analysis within the Seward Peninsula domain to determine optimal sampling locations for fine-scale measurements. This methodology should provide an initial framework for analyzing dynamic landscape

  14. Crossing the Threshold - Reviewed Evidence for Regime Shifts in Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mård Karlsson, J.; Destouni, G.; Peterson, G.; Gordon, L.

    2009-12-01

    The Arctic is rapidly changing, and the Arctic terrestrial ecosystems may respond to changing conditions in different ways. We review the evidence of regime shifts (ecosystem change from one set of mutually reinforcing feedbacks to another) in Arctic terrestrial ecosystems in relation to the hydrological cycle, as part of a larger interdisciplinary research project on Pan-Arctic ice-water-biogeochemical system responses and social-ecological resilience effects in a warming climate, which has in turn been part of the International Polar Year project Arctic-HYDRA. Such regime shifts may have implications for the Earth system as a whole, through changes in water flows and energy balance that yield feedbacks to hydrology and the local and global climate. Because the presence or absence of permafrost is a main control on local hydrological processes in the Arctic, we use the ecological response to permafrost warming to define three types of regime shifts: 1) Conversion of aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems due to draining of lakes and wetlands caused by permafrost degradation and thermokarst processes, which may have a large impact on local people and animals that depend on these ecosystems for food, domestic needs, and habitat, and on climate as the water conditions influence the direction of CO2 exchange. 2) Conversion of terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems as forests are being replaced by wet sedge meadows, bogs, and thermokarst ponds that favor aquatic birds and mammals, as thawing permafrost atop continuous permafrost undermines and destroys the root zone, leading to collapse and death of the trees. 3) Shifts in terrestrial ecosystems due to transition from tundra to shrubland and/or forest, caused by warming of air and soil, resulting in increased surface energy exchanges and albedo, which may in turn feed back to enhanced warming at the local-regional scale. We compare the impact, scale and key processes for each of these regime shifts, and assess the degree to

  15. Endoparasites in the feces of arctic foxes in a terrestrial ecosystem in Canada

    PubMed Central

    Elmore, Stacey A.; Lalonde, Laura F.; Samelius, Gustaf; Alisauskas, Ray T.; Gajadhar, Alvin A.; Jenkins, Emily J.

    2013-01-01

    The parasites of arctic foxes in the central Canadian Arctic have not been well described. Canada’s central Arctic is undergoing dramatic environmental change, which is predicted to cause shifts in parasite and wildlife species distributions, and trophic interactions, requiring that baselines be established to monitor future alterations. This study used conventional, immunological, and molecular fecal analysis techniques to survey the current gastrointestinal endoparasite fauna currently present in arctic foxes in central Nunavut, Canada. Ninety-five arctic fox fecal samples were collected from the terrestrial Karrak Lake ecosystem within the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Samples were examined by fecal flotation to detect helminths and protozoa, immunofluorescent assay (IFA) to detect Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and quantitative PCR with melt-curve analysis (qPCR-MCA) to detect coccidia. Positive qPCR-MCA products were sequenced and analyzed phylogenetically. Arctic foxes from Karrak Lake were routinely shedding eggs from Toxascaris leonina (63%). Taeniid (15%), Capillarid (1%), and hookworm eggs (2%), Sarcocystis sp. sporocysts 3%), and Eimeria sp. (6%), and Cystoisospora sp. (5%) oocysts were present at a lower prevalence on fecal flotation. Cryptosporidium sp. (9%) and Giardia sp. (16%) were detected by IFA. PCR analysis detected Sarcocystis (15%), Cystoisospora (5%), Eimeria sp., and either Neospora sp. or Hammondia sp. (1%). Through molecular techniques and phylogenetic analysis, we identified two distinct lineages of Sarcocystis sp. present in arctic foxes, which probably derived from cervid and avian intermediate hosts. Additionally, we detected previously undescribed genotypes of Cystoisospora. Our survey of gastrointestinal endoparasites in arctic foxes from the central Canadian Arctic provides a unique record against which future comparisons can be made. PMID:24533320

  16. Endoparasites in the feces of arctic foxes in a terrestrial ecosystem in Canada.

    PubMed

    Elmore, Stacey A; Lalonde, Laura F; Samelius, Gustaf; Alisauskas, Ray T; Gajadhar, Alvin A; Jenkins, Emily J

    2013-12-01

    The parasites of arctic foxes in the central Canadian Arctic have not been well described. Canada's central Arctic is undergoing dramatic environmental change, which is predicted to cause shifts in parasite and wildlife species distributions, and trophic interactions, requiring that baselines be established to monitor future alterations. This study used conventional, immunological, and molecular fecal analysis techniques to survey the current gastrointestinal endoparasite fauna currently present in arctic foxes in central Nunavut, Canada. Ninety-five arctic fox fecal samples were collected from the terrestrial Karrak Lake ecosystem within the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Samples were examined by fecal flotation to detect helminths and protozoa, immunofluorescent assay (IFA) to detect Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and quantitative PCR with melt-curve analysis (qPCR-MCA) to detect coccidia. Positive qPCR-MCA products were sequenced and analyzed phylogenetically. Arctic foxes from Karrak Lake were routinely shedding eggs from Toxascaris leonina (63%). Taeniid (15%), Capillarid (1%), and hookworm eggs (2%), Sarcocystis sp. sporocysts 3%), and Eimeria sp. (6%), and Cystoisospora sp. (5%) oocysts were present at a lower prevalence on fecal flotation. Cryptosporidium sp. (9%) and Giardia sp. (16%) were detected by IFA. PCR analysis detected Sarcocystis (15%), Cystoisospora (5%), Eimeria sp., and either Neospora sp. or Hammondia sp. (1%). Through molecular techniques and phylogenetic analysis, we identified two distinct lineages of Sarcocystis sp. present in arctic foxes, which probably derived from cervid and avian intermediate hosts. Additionally, we detected previously undescribed genotypes of Cystoisospora. Our survey of gastrointestinal endoparasites in arctic foxes from the central Canadian Arctic provides a unique record against which future comparisons can be made.

  17. Anthropogenic Litter in Urban Freshwater Ecosystems: Distribution and Microbial Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Hoellein, Timothy; Rojas, Miguel; Pink, Adam; Gasior, Joseph; Kelly, John

    2014-01-01

    Accumulation of anthropogenic litter (i.e. garbage; AL) and its ecosystem effects in marine environments are well documented. Rivers receive AL from terrestrial habitats and represent a major source of AL to marine environments, but AL is rarely studied within freshwater ecosystems. Our objectives were to 1) quantify AL density in urban freshwaters, 2) compare AL abundance among freshwater, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems, and 3) characterize the activity and composition of AL biofilms in freshwater habitats. We quantified AL from the Chicago River and Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline, and found that AL abundance in Chicago freshwater ecosystems was comparable to previously reported data for marine and terrestrial ecosystems, although AL density and composition differed among habitats. To assess microbial interactions with AL, we incubated AL and natural substrates in 3 freshwater ecosystems, quantified biofilm metabolism as gross primary production (GPP) and community respiration (CR), and characterized biofilm bacterial community composition via high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. The main driver of biofilm community composition was incubation location (e.g., river vs pond), but there were some significant differences in biofilm composition and metabolism among substrates. For example, biofilms on organic substrates (cardboard and leaves) had lower GPP than hard substrates (glass, plastic, aluminum and tiles). In addition, bacterial communities on organic substrates were distinct in composition from those on hard substrates, with higher relative abundances of bacteria associated with cellulose decomposition. Finally, we used our results to develop a conceptual diagram designed to unite the study of AL in terrestrial and freshwater environments with the well-established field of marine debris research. We suggest this broad perspective will be useful for future studies which synthesize AL sources, ecosystem effects, and fate across multiple ecosystem

  18. Anthropogenic litter in urban freshwater ecosystems: distribution and microbial interactions.

    PubMed

    Hoellein, Timothy; Rojas, Miguel; Pink, Adam; Gasior, Joseph; Kelly, John

    2014-01-01

    Accumulation of anthropogenic litter (i.e. garbage; AL) and its ecosystem effects in marine environments are well documented. Rivers receive AL from terrestrial habitats and represent a major source of AL to marine environments, but AL is rarely studied within freshwater ecosystems. Our objectives were to 1) quantify AL density in urban freshwaters, 2) compare AL abundance among freshwater, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems, and 3) characterize the activity and composition of AL biofilms in freshwater habitats. We quantified AL from the Chicago River and Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline, and found that AL abundance in Chicago freshwater ecosystems was comparable to previously reported data for marine and terrestrial ecosystems, although AL density and composition differed among habitats. To assess microbial interactions with AL, we incubated AL and natural substrates in 3 freshwater ecosystems, quantified biofilm metabolism as gross primary production (GPP) and community respiration (CR), and characterized biofilm bacterial community composition via high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. The main driver of biofilm community composition was incubation location (e.g., river vs pond), but there were some significant differences in biofilm composition and metabolism among substrates. For example, biofilms on organic substrates (cardboard and leaves) had lower GPP than hard substrates (glass, plastic, aluminum and tiles). In addition, bacterial communities on organic substrates were distinct in composition from those on hard substrates, with higher relative abundances of bacteria associated with cellulose decomposition. Finally, we used our results to develop a conceptual diagram designed to unite the study of AL in terrestrial and freshwater environments with the well-established field of marine debris research. We suggest this broad perspective will be useful for future studies which synthesize AL sources, ecosystem effects, and fate across multiple ecosystem

  19. Plankton ecosystem functioning and nitrogen fluxes in the most oligotrophic waters of the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean: a modeling study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Fouest, V.; Zakardjian, B.; Xie, H.; Raimbault, P.; Joux, F.; Babin, M.

    2012-10-01

    The Arctic Ocean (AO) undergoes profound changes of its physical and biotic environments due to climate change. The greater light exposure and stratification alter its plankton ecosystem structure, functioning and productivity promoting oligotrophy in some areas as the Beaufort Sea. A one-dimension (1-D) physical-biological coupled model based on the large multiparametric database of the Malina project in the Beaufort Sea was used (i) to infer the functioning and nitrogen fluxes within the summer plankton ecosystem and (ii) to assess the model sensitivity to key light-associated processes involved in nutrient recycling and phytoplankton growth. The coupled model suggested that ammonium photochemically produced from photosensitive dissolved organic nitrogen (i.e. photoammonification process) was a necessary nitrogen source to achieve the observed levels of microbial biomass and production. It contributed to ca. two-thirds and one-third of the simulated surface (0-10 m) and depth-integrated primary and bacterial production, respectively. The model also suggested that carbon to chlorophyll ratios for small (< 5 μm) phytoplankton (ca. 15-45 g g-1) lower than those commonly used in biogeochemical models applied to the AO were required to simulate the observed herbivorous versus microbial food web competition and realistic nitrogen fluxes in the Beaufort Sea oligotrophic waters. In face of accelerating Arctic warming, more attention should be paid in the future to the mechanistic processes involved in food webs and functional groups competition, nutrient recycling and primary production in poorly productive waters of the AO as they are expected to expand rapidly.

  20. Climate Change Experiments in Arctic Ecosystems: Scientific Strategy and Design Criteria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wullschleger, S. D.; Hinzman, L. D.; McGuire, A. D.; Oberbauer, S. F.; Oechel, W. C.; Norby, R. J.; Thornton, P. E.; Schuur, E. A.; Shugart, H. H.; Walsh, J. E.; Wilson, C. J.

    2010-12-01

    Arctic and subarctic ecosystems are sensitive to changes in climate. These are among the largest and coldest of all ecosystems and are perceived by many as especially vulnerable to environmental change. Warming, in particular, is expected to be greatest in northern latitudes with potentially significant consequences for tundra, taiga, and peat lands. Observational evidence suggests that warming is already affecting physical and ecological processes in high-latitude ecosystems. Models predict that permafrost degradation and the northward expansion of shrubs into tundra represent important feedbacks on climate. Manipulative experiments can help understand the vulnerability of ecosystems to climate warming. Previous attempts to manipulate the environment of ecosystems in arctic and subarctic regions have focused on warming plant and soils, but treatments have been limited to small scales and modest increases in temperature. Manipulating the environment at larger scales and exposing ecosystems to higher temperatures for longer periods of time will be required to fully describe the physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms that govern land-atmosphere interactions. A variety of logistical and engineering challenges must be overcome and new approaches developed before we can address the questions being asked of the scientific community especially as we continue to move toward large-scale and long-term experiments. In light of the many uncertainties that surround the response of high-latitude ecosystems to global climate change, it is important that the scientific community consider how manipulative experiments can address and resolve ecosystem impacts and feedbacks to climate. A workshop sponsored by the Department of Energy, Office of Science was recently held at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The goal of the workshop was to highlight conclusions from observational and modeling studies about the response of arctic and subarctic ecosystems to a changing climate

  1. Oceanic periglacial in the evolution of the Arctic marine ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Matishov, G.G.

    1996-12-31

    A study of the Arctic marine and land environment and biota is connected with the analysis of the global climatic changes and the general history of Arctic and subarctic ecological systems. Ancient glaciation not only influenced the geomorphology of landscapes, physical and chemical properties of the ocean and its seas, but also caused the global change of the morphoclimatic zonality in the ocean as a whole. Submarine and subaqual hydrological, geomorphological and biological processes on the shelves of polar and temperate latitudes had intensified especially during the melting of continental glaciers. The study of the periglacial problem consists, as a whole, in the research of the geological and biological phenomena which take place in the pelagial and the benthal outside the ice sheets and are connected with them by causal, spatial and temporal relations.

  2. Boreal fire influence on Arctic tropospheric ozone, ecosystems and climate forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arnold, S.; Monks, S. A.; Emmons, L. K.; Sitch, S.; Rap, A.; Law, K.; Tilmes, S.; Lamarque, J.

    2013-12-01

    Temperature observations show that the Arctic has warmed rapidly in the past few decades compared to the northern hemisphere as a whole. Model calculations suggest that changes in short-lived pollutants such as ozone and aerosol may have contributed significantly to this warming. Arctic tropospheric budgets of short-lived pollutants are impacted by both local anthropogenic emissions and by long-range transport of gases and aerosols from Europe, Asia and N. America, but also by local Boreal wildfires in summer. Our understanding of how fires impact Arctic budgets of climate-relevant atmospheric constituents is limited, and is reliant on sparse observations and models of tropospheric chemistry. A better understanding of Boreal fire influence on Arctic ozone is essential for improving the reliability of our projections of future Arctic and Northern Hemisphere climate change, especially in light of proposed climate-fire feedbacks which may enhance the intensity and extent of high latitude wildfire under a warming climate. Using the NCAR Community Earth System Model (CESM) and a scheme for tagging and tracking NOx emitted by high latitude wildfires and its resultant tropospheric ozone production, we investigate the impacts of fire-sourced ozone on summertime high latitude radiative forcing and on ecosystems. The large fraction of NOy present as PAN in the Arctic suggests there may be a strong sensitivity of NOy and ozone enhancement to the efficiency of vertical transport from source regions, which determines the stability of PAN as air is advected poleward. We use these simulations and aircraft observations to characterise the vertical distributions of sensitivities of Arctic NOy and ozone to remote anthropogenic and local widlfire sources, and use an offline radiative transfer model to quantify impacts on local ozone radiative forcing. We compare these vertical sensitivities with those of a primary-emitted CO-like source tracer, to investigate the role of PAN

  3. A microbial ecosystem beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet.

    PubMed

    Christner, Brent C; Priscu, John C; Achberger, Amanda M; Barbante, Carlo; Carter, Sasha P; Christianson, Knut; Michaud, Alexander B; Mikucki, Jill A; Mitchell, Andrew C; Skidmore, Mark L; Vick-Majors, Trista J

    2014-08-21

    Liquid water has been known to occur beneath the Antarctic ice sheet for more than 40 years, but only recently have these subglacial aqueous environments been recognized as microbial ecosystems that may influence biogeochemical transformations on a global scale. Here we present the first geomicrobiological description of water and surficial sediments obtained from direct sampling of a subglacial Antarctic lake. Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW) lies beneath approximately 800 m of ice on the lower portion of the Whillans Ice Stream (WIS) in West Antarctica and is part of an extensive and evolving subglacial drainage network. The water column of SLW contained metabolically active microorganisms and was derived primarily from glacial ice melt with solute sources from lithogenic weathering and a minor seawater component. Heterotrophic and autotrophic production data together with small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequencing and biogeochemical data indicate that SLW is a chemosynthetically driven ecosystem inhabited by a diverse assemblage of bacteria and archaea. Our results confirm that aquatic environments beneath the Antarctic ice sheet support viable microbial ecosystems, corroborating previous reports suggesting that they contain globally relevant pools of carbon and microbes that can mobilize elements from the lithosphere and influence Southern Ocean geochemical and biological systems.

  4. Modeling plankton ecosystem functioning and nitrogen fluxes in the oligotrophic waters of the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean: a focus on light-driven processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Fouest, V.; Zakardjian, B.; Xie, H.; Raimbault, P.; Joux, F.; Babin, M.

    2013-07-01

    The Arctic Ocean (AO) undergoes profound changes of its physical and biotic environments due to climate change. In some areas of the Beaufort Sea, the stronger haline stratification observed in summer alters the plankton ecosystem structure, functioning and productivity, promoting oligotrophy. A one-dimension (1-D) physical-biological coupled model based on the large multiparametric database of the Malina project in the Beaufort Sea was used (i) to infer the plankton ecosystem functioning and related nitrogen fluxes and (ii) to assess the model sensitivity to key light-driven processes involved in nutrient recycling and phytoplankton growth. The coupled model suggested that ammonium photochemically produced from photosensitive dissolved organic nitrogen (i.e., photoammonification process) was a necessary nitrogen source to achieve the observed levels of microbial biomass and production. Photoammonification directly and indirectly (by stimulating the microbial food web activity) contributed to 70% and 18.5% of the 0-10 m and whole water column, respectively, simulated primary production (respectively 66% and 16% for the bacterial production). The model also suggested that variable carbon to chlorophyll ratios were required to simulate the observed herbivorous versus microbial food web competition and realistic nitrogen fluxes in the Beaufort Sea oligotrophic waters. In face of accelerating Arctic warming, more attention should be paid in the future to the mechanistic processes involved in food webs and functional group competition, nutrient recycling and primary production in poorly productive waters of the AO, as they are expected to expand rapidly.

  5. Overarching perspectives of contemporary and future ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wassmann, Paul

    2015-12-01

    The Arctic region has a number of specific characteristics that provide the region an exceptional global position. It comprises 5% of the earth surface, 1% of world ocean volume, 3% of world ocean area, 25% of world continental shelf, 35% of world coastline, 11% of global river runoff and 20 of worlds 100 longest rivers. The Arctic region encompasses only 0.05% of the global population, but 22% undiscovered petroleum, 15% of global petroleum production, many metals and non-metals resources and support major global fisheries (60 and 80°N). In times of increasing resource demand and limitation the world focuses increasingly onto the Arctic Ocean (AO) and adjacent regions. This development is emphasised by the recent awareness of rapid climate change in the AO, the most significant on the globe, and has resulted in increased attention to the oceanography of the high north. The loss of Arctic sea ice has emerged as a leading signal of global warming. It is taking place at a rate 2-3 times faster than global rates and sea-ice cover has decreased more than 10% per decade, while sea-ice volume may have been reduced by minimum 40% over the last 30 years (Meier et al., 2014). The reduction of ice cover and thickness makes the region available for commercial interest. The region drives also critical effects on the biophysical, political and economic system of the Northern Hemisphere (e.g., Grambling, 2015). These striking changes in physical forcing have left marine ecological footprints of climate change in the Arctic ecosystem (Wassmann et al., 2011). However, predicting the future of the pan-Arctic ecosystem remains a challenge not only because of the ever-accelerating nature of both physical and biological alterations, but also because of lack of marine ecological knowledge, that is staggering for the majority of regions (except the Barents, Chukchi and Beaufort seas).

  6. Dead or Alive? Probing Microbial Ecosystems With Intact Polar Lipids.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sturt, H. F.; Smith, K. J.; Xu, L.; Molyneaux, S. J.; Teske, A.; Orphan, V. J.; Summons, R. E.; Hinrichs, K.

    2002-12-01

    Multi-proxy approaches consisting of isotopic information derived from diagnostic lipid biomarkers together with phylogenetic techniques have advanced our understanding of naturally occurring microbial communities. Examples include the significant advances in our understanding of the ecology of archaeal methanotrophs and planktonic crenarchaeota. However, this approach has to be modified for application to microbial ecosystems in the deep subsurface in order to distinguish live matter from dead. Polar lipids, i.e., phospho- and glycolipids, fulfill that requirement and potentially provide information on the structure, size and function of the microbial community. We utilized a high-performance-liquid-chromatograph coupled to a mass-spectrometer (HPLC-MS) to examine the distribution of intact polar lipids from microbial isolates and surface sediments that are relevant for the study of deep subsurface biospheres. Structural features of bacterial and archaeal-derived polar lipids are identified on the basis of their sequential fragmentation in an ion-trap mass spectrometer upon electrospray ionization. Additional details are obtained from a series of chemical degradations designed to release alkyl units of the polar lipids rendering them analyzable by conventional gas-chromatography-mass-spectrometry (GC-MS). Fingerprints of polar lipids from microbial isolates allow distinction of taxonomically closely related prokaryotes. Moreover, sediments from seep environments in Eel River Basin and Guaymas Basin that host anaerobic methanotrophic communities are both dominated by similar types of glycosyl biphytanyl tetraethers suggestive of a predominant low-diversity archaeal assemblage. First applications of this technique to sediments from the deep subsurface will be presented.

  7. Diverging Plant and Ecosystem Strategies in Response to Climate Change in the High Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maseyk, K. S.; Welker, J. M.; Czimczik, C. I.; Lupascu, M.; Lett, C.; Seibt, U. H.

    2014-12-01

    Increasing summer precipitation means Arctic growing seasons are becoming wetter as well as warmer, but the effect of these coupled changes on tundra ecosystem functioning remains largely unknown. We have determined how warmer and wetter summers affect coupled carbon-water cycling in a High Arctic polar semi-desert ecosystem in NW Greenland. Measurements of ecosystem CO2 and water fluxes throughout the growing season and leaf ecophysiological traits (gas exchange, morphology, leaf chemistry) were made at a long-term climate change experiment. After 9 years of exposure to warmer (+ 4°C) and / or wetter (+ 50% precipitation) treatments, we found diverging plant strategies between the responses to warming with or without an increase in summer precipitation. Warming alone resulted in an increase in leaf nitrogen, mesophyll conductance and leaf-mass per area and higher rates of leaf-level photosynthesis, but with warming and wetting combined leaf traits remain largely unchanged. However, total leaf area increased with warming plus wetting but was unchanged with warming alone. The combined effect of these leaf trait and canopy adjustments is a decrease in ecosystem water-use efficiency (the ratio of net productivity to evapotranspiration) with warming only, but a substantial increase with combined warming and wetting. We conclude that increasing summer precipitation will alter tundra ecohydrological responses to warming; that leaf-level changes in ecophysiological traits have an upward cascading consequence for ecosystem and land surface-climate interactions; and the current relative resistance of High Arctic ecosystems to warming may mask biochemical and carbon cycling changes already underway.

  8. Ecosystem model intercomparison of under-ice and total primary production in the Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jin, Meibing; Popova, Ekaterina E.; Zhang, Jinlun; Ji, Rubao; Pendleton, Daniel; Varpe, Øystein; Yool, Andrew; Lee, Younjoo J.

    2016-01-01

    Previous observational studies have found increasing primary production (PP) in response to declining sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean. In this study, under-ice PP was assessed based on three coupled ice-ocean-ecosystem models participating in the Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS) project. All models showed good agreement with under-ice measurements of surface chlorophyll-a concentration and vertically integrated PP rates during the main under-ice production period, from mid-May to September. Further, modeled 30-year (1980-2009) mean values and spatial patterns of sea ice concentration compared well with remote sensing data. Under-ice PP was higher in the Arctic shelf seas than in the Arctic Basin, but ratios of under-ice PP over total PP were spatially correlated with annual mean sea ice concentration, with higher ratios in higher ice concentration regions. Decreases in sea ice from 1980 to 2009 were correlated significantly with increases in total PP and decreases in the under-ice PP/total PP ratio for most of the Arctic, but nonsignificantly related to under-ice PP, especially in marginal ice zones. Total PP within the Arctic Circle increased at an annual rate of between 3.2 and 8.0 Tg C/yr from 1980 to 2009. This increase in total PP was due mainly to a PP increase in open water, including increases in both open water area and PP rate per unit area, and therefore much stronger than the changes in under-ice PP. All models suggested that, on a pan-Arctic scale, the fraction of under-ice PP declined with declining sea ice cover over the last three decades.

  9. Effects of freeze-thaw cycles on anaerobic microbial processes in an Arctic intertidal mud flat.

    PubMed

    Sawicka, Joanna E; Robador, Alberto; Hubert, Casey; Jørgensen, Bo Barker; Brüchert, Volker

    2010-04-01

    Insight into the effects of repeated freezing and thawing on microbial processes in sediments and soils is important for understanding sediment carbon cycling at high latitudes acutely affected by global warming. Microbial responses to repeated freeze-thaw conditions were studied in three complementary experiments using arctic sediment collected from an intertidal flat that is exposed to seasonal freeze-thaw conditions (Ymerbukta, Svalbard, Arctic Ocean). The sediment was subjected to oscillating freeze-thaw incubations, either gradual, from -5 to 4 degrees C, or abrupt, from -20 to 10 degrees C. Concentrations of low-molecular weight carboxylic acids (volatile fatty acids) were measured and sulfate reduction was assessed by measuring (35)S sulfate reduction rates (SRRs). Gradual freeze-thaw incubation decreased microbial activity in the frozen state to 0.25 % of initial levels at 4 degrees C, but activity resumed rapidly reaching >60 % of initial activity in the thawed state. Exposure of sediments to successive large temperature changes (-20 versus 10 degrees C) decreased SRR by 80% of the initial activity, suggesting that a fraction of the bacterial community recovered rapidly from extreme temperature fluctuations. This is supported by 16S rRNA gene-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles that revealed persistence of the dominant microbial taxa under repeated freeze-thaw cycles. The fast recovery of the SRRs suggests that carbon mineralization in thawing arctic sediment can resume without delay or substantial growth of microbial populations.

  10. Marine Arctic Ecosystem Study (MARES): Pilot Project - Marine Mammal Tagging and Tracking

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Marine Arctic Ecosystem Study (MARES): Pilot Project...U.S. - Canada Transboundary Fish and Lower Trophic Communities and CASES studies and to interpret the MARES findings in reference to the significant...location as well as dive profiles, CTD and fluorometer data. The transmitters are expected to report for six months or longer. Field work during the entire

  11. A Canadian Working Group report on fecal microbial therapy: Microbial ecosystems therapeutics

    PubMed Central

    Allen-Vercoe, Emma; Reid, Gregor; Viner, Norman; Gloor, Gregory B; Hota, Susy; Kim, Peter; Lee, Christine; O’Doherty, Kieran C; Vanner, Stephen J; Weese, J Scott; Petrof, Elaine O

    2012-01-01

    A working group from across Canada comprised of clinician and basic scientists, epidemiologists, ethicists, Health Canada regulatory authorities and representatives of major funding agencies (Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada) met to review the current experience with fecal microbial therapy and to identify the key areas of study required to move this field forward. The report highlights the promise of fecal microbial therapy and related synthetic stool therapy (together called ‘microbial ecosystems therapeutics’) for the treatment of Clostridium difficile colitis and, possibly, other disorders. It identifies pressing clinical issues that need to be addressed as well as social, ethical and regulatory barriers to the use of these important therapies. PMID:22803022

  12. A Canadian Working Group report on fecal microbial therapy: microbial ecosystems therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Allen-Vercoe, Emma; Reid, Gregor; Viner, Norman; Gloor, Gregory B; Hota, Susy; Kim, Peter; Lee, Christine; O'Doherty, Kieran; Vanner, Stephen J; Weese, J Scott; Petrof, Elaine O

    2012-07-01

    A working group from across Canada comprised of clinician and basic scientists, epidemiologists, ethicists, Health Canada regulatory authorities and representatives of major funding agencies (Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada) met to review the current experience with fecal microbial therapy and to identify the key areas of study required to move this field forward. The report highlights the promise of fecal microbial therapy and related synthetic stool therapy (together called 'microbial ecosystems therapeutics') for the treatment of Clostridium difficile colitis and, possibly, other disorders. It identifies pressing clinical issues that need to be addressed as well as social, ethical and regulatory barriers to the use of these important therapies.

  13. Soil microbial responses to nitrogen addition in arid ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sinsabaugh, Robert L; Belnap, Jayne; Rudgers, Jennifer; Kuske, Cheryl R; Martinez, Noelle; Sandquist, Darren

    2015-01-01

    The N cycle of arid ecosystems is influenced by low soil organic matter, high soil pH, and extremes in water potential and temperature that lead to open canopies and development of biological soil crusts (biocrusts). We investigated the effects of N amendment on soil microbial dynamics in a Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa shrubland site in southern Nevada USA. Sites were fertilized with a NO3-NH4 mix at 0, 7, and 15 kg N ha(-1) y(-1) from March 2012 to March 2013. In March 2013, biocrust (0-0.5 cm) and bulk soils (0-10 cm) were collected beneath Ambrosia canopies and in the interspaces between plants. Biomass responses were assessed as bacterial and fungal SSU rRNA gene copy number and chlorophyll a concentration. Metabolic responses were measured by five ecoenzyme activities and rates of N transformation. By most measures, nutrient availability, microbial biomass, and process rates were greater in soils beneath the shrub canopy compared to the interspace between plants, and greater in the surface biocrust horizon compared to the deeper 10 cm soil profile. Most measures responded positively to experimental N addition. Effect sizes were generally greater for bulk soil than biocrust. Results were incorporated into a meta-analysis of arid ecosystem responses to N amendment that included data from 14 other studies. Effect sizes were calculated for biomass and metabolic responses. Regressions of effect sizes, calculated for biomass, and metabolic responses, showed similar trends in relation to N application rate and N load (rate × duration). The critical points separating positive from negative treatment effects were 88 kg ha(-1) y(-1) and 159 kg ha(-1), respectively, for biomass, and 70 kg ha(-1) y(-1) and 114 kg ha(-1), respectively, for metabolism. These critical values are comparable to those for microbial biomass, decomposition rates and respiration reported in broader meta-analyses of N amendment effects in mesic ecosystems. However, large effect sizes at low N

  14. Soil microbial responses to nitrogen addition in arid ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Sinsabaugh, Robert L.; Belnap, Jayne; Rudgers, Jennifer; Kuske, Cheryl R.; Martinez, Noelle; Sandquist, Darren

    2015-01-01

    The N cycle of arid ecosystems is influenced by low soil organic matter, high soil pH, and extremes in water potential and temperature that lead to open canopies and development of biological soil crusts (biocrusts). We investigated the effects of N amendment on soil microbial dynamics in a Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa shrubland site in southern Nevada USA. Sites were fertilized with a NO3-NH4 mix at 0, 7, and 15 kg N ha-1 y-1 from March 2012 to March 2013. In March 2013, biocrust (0–0.5 cm) and bulk soils (0–10 cm) were collected beneath Ambrosia canopies and in the interspaces between plants. Biomass responses were assessed as bacterial and fungal SSU rRNA gene copy number and chlorophyll a concentration. Metabolic responses were measured by five ecoenzyme activities and rates of N transformation. By most measures, nutrient availability, microbial biomass, and process rates were greater in soils beneath the shrub canopy compared to the interspace between plants, and greater in the surface biocrust horizon compared to the deeper 10 cm soil profile. Most measures responded positively to experimental N addition. Effect sizes were generally greater for bulk soil than biocrust. Results were incorporated into a meta-analysis of arid ecosystem responses to N amendment that included data from 14 other studies. Effect sizes were calculated for biomass and metabolic responses. Regressions of effect sizes, calculated for biomass, and metabolic responses, showed similar trends in relation to N application rate and N load (rate × duration). The critical points separating positive from negative treatment effects were 88 kg ha-1 y-1 and 159 kg ha-1, respectively, for biomass, and 70 kg ha-1 y-1 and 114 kg ha-1, respectively, for metabolism. These critical values are comparable to those for microbial biomass, decomposition rates and respiration reported in broader meta-analyses of N amendment effects in mesic ecosystems. However, large effect sizes at low N addition

  15. Soil microbial responses to nitrogen addition in arid ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Sinsabaugh, Robert L.; Belnap, Jayne; Rudgers, Jennifer; Kuske, Cheryl R.; Martinez, Noelle; Sandquist, Darren

    2015-08-14

    The N cycle of arid ecosystems is influenced by low soil organic matter, high soil pH, and extremes in water potential and temperature that lead to open canopies and development of biological soil crusts (biocrusts). We investigated the effects of N amendment on soil microbial dynamics in a Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa shrubland site in southern Nevada USA. Sites were fertilized with a NO3-NH4 mix at 0, 7, and 15 kg N ha-1 y-1 from March 2012 to March 2013. In March 2013, biocrust (0–0.5 cm) and bulk soils (0–10 cm) were collected beneath Ambrosia canopies and in the interspaces between plants. Biomass responses were assessed as bacterial and fungal SSU rRNA gene copy number and chlorophyll a concentration. Metabolic responses were measured by five ecoenzyme activities and rates of N transformation. With most measures, nutrient availability, microbial biomass, and process rates were greater in soils beneath the shrub canopy compared to the interspace between plants, and greater in the surface biocrust horizon compared to the deeper 10 cm soil profile. Most measures responded positively to experimental N addition. Effect sizes were generally greater for bulk soil than biocrust. Results were incorporated into a meta-analysis of arid ecosystem responses to N amendment that included data from 14 other studies. Effect sizes were calculated for biomass and metabolic responses. Regressions of effect sizes, calculated for biomass, and metabolic responses, showed similar trends in relation to N application rate and N load (rate × duration). The critical points separating positive from negative treatment effects were 88 kg ha-1 y-1 and 159 kg ha-1, respectively, for biomass, and 70 kg ha-1 y-1 and 114 kg ha-1, respectively, for metabolism. These critical values are comparable to those for microbial biomass, decomposition rates and respiration

  16. Soil microbial responses to nitrogen addition in arid ecosystems

    DOE PAGES

    Sinsabaugh, Robert L.; Belnap, Jayne; Rudgers, Jennifer; ...

    2015-08-14

    The N cycle of arid ecosystems is influenced by low soil organic matter, high soil pH, and extremes in water potential and temperature that lead to open canopies and development of biological soil crusts (biocrusts). We investigated the effects of N amendment on soil microbial dynamics in a Larrea tridentata-Ambrosia dumosa shrubland site in southern Nevada USA. Sites were fertilized with a NO3-NH4 mix at 0, 7, and 15 kg N ha-1 y-1 from March 2012 to March 2013. In March 2013, biocrust (0–0.5 cm) and bulk soils (0–10 cm) were collected beneath Ambrosia canopies and in the interspaces betweenmore » plants. Biomass responses were assessed as bacterial and fungal SSU rRNA gene copy number and chlorophyll a concentration. Metabolic responses were measured by five ecoenzyme activities and rates of N transformation. With most measures, nutrient availability, microbial biomass, and process rates were greater in soils beneath the shrub canopy compared to the interspace between plants, and greater in the surface biocrust horizon compared to the deeper 10 cm soil profile. Most measures responded positively to experimental N addition. Effect sizes were generally greater for bulk soil than biocrust. Results were incorporated into a meta-analysis of arid ecosystem responses to N amendment that included data from 14 other studies. Effect sizes were calculated for biomass and metabolic responses. Regressions of effect sizes, calculated for biomass, and metabolic responses, showed similar trends in relation to N application rate and N load (rate × duration). The critical points separating positive from negative treatment effects were 88 kg ha-1 y-1 and 159 kg ha-1, respectively, for biomass, and 70 kg ha-1 y-1 and 114 kg ha-1, respectively, for metabolism. These critical values are comparable to those for microbial biomass, decomposition rates and respiration reported in broader meta-analyses of N amendment effects in mesic ecosystems. The large effect sizes at low N

  17. Soil Microbial Activity Provides Insight to Carbon Cycling in Shrub Ecotones of Sub-Arctic Sweden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marek, E.; Kashi, N. N.; Chen, J.; Hobbie, E. A.; Schwan, M. R.; Varner, R. K.

    2015-12-01

    Shrubs are expanding in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions due to rising atmospheric temperatures. Microbial activity increases as growing temperatures cause permafrost warming and subsequent thaw, leading to a greater resource of soil nutrients enabling shrub growth. Increased carbon inputs from shrubs is predicted to result in faster carbon turnover by microbial decomposition. Further understanding of microbial activity underneath shrubs could uncover how microbes and soil processes interact to promote shrub expansion and carbon cycling. To address how higher soil carbon input from shrubs influences decomposition, soil samples were taken across a heath, shrub, and forest ecotone gradient at two sites near Abikso, Sweden. Samples were analyzed for soluble carbon and nitrogen, microbial abundance, and microbial activity of chitinase, glucosidase, and phosphatase to reflect organic matter decomposition and availability of nitrogen, carbon, and phosphate respectively. Chitinase activity positively correlated with shrub cover, suggesting microbial demands for nitrogen increase with higher shrub cover. Glucosidase activity negatively correlated with shrub cover and soluble carbon, suggesting decreased microbial demand for carbon as shrub cover and carbon stores increase. Lower glucosidase activity in areas with high carbon input from shrubs implies that microbes are decomposing carbon less readily than carbon is being put into the soil. Increasing soil carbon stores in shrub covered areas can lead to shrubs becoming a net carbon sink and a negative feedback to changing climate.

  18. Measurement-based upscaling of Pan Arctic Net Ecosystem Exchange: the PANEEx project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Njuabe Mbufong, Herbert; Kusbach, Antonin; Lund, Magnus; Persson, Andreas; Christensen, Torben R.; Tamstorf, Mikkel P.; Connolly, John

    2016-04-01

    The high variability in Arctic tundra net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon (C) can be attributed to the high spatial heterogeneity of Arctic tundra due to the complex topography. Current models of C exchange handle the Arctic as either a single or few ecosystems, responding to environmental change in the same manner. In this study, we developed and tested a simple pan Arctic NEE (PANEEx) model using the Misterlich light response curve (LRC) function with photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) as the main driving variable. Model calibration was carried out with eddy covariance carbon dioxide (CO2) data from 12 Arctic tundra sites. The model input parameters (Fcsat, Rd and α) were estimated as a function of air temperature (AirT) and leaf area index (LAI) and represent specific characteristics of the NEE-PPFD relationship, including the saturation flux, dark respiration and initial light use efficiency, respectively. LAI and air temperature were respectively estimated from empirical relationships with remotely sensed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and land surface temperature (LST). These are available as MODIS Terra product MOD13Q1 and MOD11A1 respectively. Therefore, no specific knowledge of the vegetation type is required. The PANEEx model captures the spatial heterogeneity of the Arctic tundra and was effective in simulating 77% of the measured fluxes (r2 = 0.72, p < 0.001) at the 12 sites used in the calibration of the model. Further, the model effectively estimates NEE in three disparate Alaskan ecosystems (heath, tussock and fen) with an estimation ranging between 10 - 36% of the measured fluxes. We suggest that the poor agreement between the measured and modeled NEE may result from the disparity between ground-based measured LAI (used in model calibration) and remotely sensed LAI (estimated from NDVI and used in NEE estimation). Moreover, our results suggests that using simple linear regressions may be inadequate as parameters estimated

  19. Changing snow cover in tundra ecosystems tips the Arctic carbon balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zona, D.; Hufkens, K.; Gioli, B.; Kalhori, A. A. M.; Oechel, W. C.

    2014-12-01

    The Arctic environment has witnessed important changes due to global warming, resulting in increased surface air temperatures and rain events which both exacerbate snow cover deterioration (Semmens et al, 2013; Rennert et al, 2009; White et al, 2007; Min et al, 2008; Sharp et al, 2013; Schaeffer et al, 2013). Snow cover duration is declining by almost 20% per decade, a far higher rate than model estimates (Derksen and Brown, 2012). Concomitant with increasing temperatures and decreasing snow cover duration, the length of the arctic growing season is reported to have increased by 1.1 - 4.9 days per decade since 1951 (Menzel et al, 2006), and, plant productivity and CO2 uptake from arctic vegetation are strongly influenced by changes in growing season length (Myneni et al., 1997; Schaefer et al., 2005; Euskirchen et al., 2006). Based on more than a decade of eddy flux measurements in Arctic tundra ecosystems across the North slope of Alaska, and remotely sensed snow cover data, we show that earlier snow melt in the spring increase C uptake while an extended snow free period in autumn is associated with a higher C loss. Here we present the impacts of changes in snow cover dynamics between spring and autumn in arctic tundra ecosystems on the carbon dynamics and net C balance of the Alaskan Arctic. ReferencesDerksen, C., Brown R. (2012) Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL053387 Euskirchen, E.S., et al. (2006) Glob. Change Biol., 12, 731-750. Menzel, A., et al. 2006. Glob. Change Biol., 12, 1969-1976. Min SK, Zhang X, Zweirs F (2008) Science 320: 518-520. Rennert K J, Roe G, Putkonen J and Bitz C M (2009) J. Clim. 22 2302-15. Schaefer, K., Denning A.S., Leonard O. (2005) Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 19, GB3017. Schaeffer, S. M., Sharp, E., Schimel, J. P. & Welker, J. M. (2013). Soil- plant N processes in a High Arctic ecosystem, NW Greenland are altered by long-term experimental warming and higher rainfall. Glob. Change Biol., 11, 3529-39. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12318

  20. Transitions in Arctic ecosystems: Ecological implications of a changing hydrological regime

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wrona, Frederick J.; Johansson, Margareta; Culp, Joseph M.; Jenkins, Alan; Mârd, Johanna; Myers-Smith, Isla H.; Prowse, Terry D.; Vincent, Warwick F.; Wookey, Philip A.

    2016-03-01

    Numerous international scientific assessments and related articles have, during the last decade, described the observed and potential impacts of climate change as well as other related environmental stressors on Arctic ecosystems. There is increasing recognition that observed and projected changes in freshwater sources, fluxes, and storage will have profound implications for the physical, biogeochemical, biological, and ecological processes and properties of Arctic terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. However, a significant level of uncertainty remains in relation to forecasting the impacts of an intensified hydrological regime and related cryospheric change on ecosystem structure and function. As the terrestrial and freshwater ecology component of the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis, we review these uncertainties and recommend enhanced coordinated circumpolar research and monitoring efforts to improve quantification and prediction of how an altered hydrological regime influences local, regional, and circumpolar-level responses in terrestrial and freshwater systems. Specifically, we evaluate (i) changes in ecosystem productivity; (ii) alterations in ecosystem-level biogeochemical cycling and chemical transport; (iii) altered landscapes, successional trajectories, and creation of new habitats; (iv) altered seasonality and phenological mismatches; and (v) gains or losses of species and associated trophic interactions. We emphasize the need for developing a process-based understanding of interecosystem interactions, along with improved predictive models. We recommend enhanced use of the catchment scale as an integrated unit of study, thereby more explicitly considering the physical, chemical, and ecological processes and fluxes across a full freshwater continuum in a geographic region and spatial range of hydroecological units (e.g., stream-pond-lake-river-near shore marine environments).

  1. An eddy covariance derived annual carbon budget for an arctic terrestrial ecosystem (Disko, Greenland)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McConnell, Alistair; Lund, Magnus; Friborg, Thomas

    2016-04-01

    Ecosystems with underlying permafrost cover nearly 25% of the ice-free land area in the northern hemisphere and store almost half of the global soil carbon. Future climate changes are predicted to have the most pronounced effect in northern latitudes. These Arctic ecosystems are therefore subject to dramatic changes following thawing of permafrost, glacial retreat, and coastal erosion. The most dramatic effect of permafrost thawing is the accelerated decomposition and potential mobilization of organic matter stored in the permafrost. This will impact global climate through the mobilization of carbon and nitrogen accompanied by release of greenhouses gases, including carbon dioxide. This study presents the initial findings and first full annual carbon (CO2) budget, derived from eddy covariance measurements, for an Arctic landscape in West Greenland. The study site, a terrestrial Arctic maritime climate, is located at Østerlien, near Qeqertarsuaq, on the southern coast of Disko Island in central West Greenland (69° 15' N, 53° 34' W) within the transition zone from continuous to discontinuous permafrost. The mean annual air temperature is -5 C and the annual precipitation as rain is 150-200 mm. Arctic ecosystem feedback mechanisms and processes interact on micro, local and regional scales. This is further complicated by several potential feedback mechanisms likely to occur in permafrost-affected ecosystems, involving the interactions of microorganisms, vegetation and soil. The eddy covariance method allows us to interrogate the processes and drivers of land-atmosphere carbon exchange at extremely high temporary frequency (10 Hz), providing landscape-scale measurements of CO2, H2O and heat fluxes for the site, which are processed to derive daily, monthly and now, annual carbon fluxes. We discuss the scientific methodology, challenges, and analysis, as well as the practical and logistic challenges of working in the Arctic, and present an annual carbon budget

  2. Fire Effects on Microbial Dynamics and C, N, and P Cycling in Larch Forests of the Siberian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ludwig, S.; Alexander, H. D.; Mann, P. J.; Natali, S.; Schade, J. D.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic forest ecosystems are warming at an accelerated rate relative to lower latitudes, with global implications for C cycling within these regions. As climate continues to warm and dry, wildfire frequency and severity are predicted to increase, creating a positive feedback to climate warming. Because soil microbes regulate carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere, it is important to understand microbial response to fires, particularly in the understudied larch forests in the Siberian Arctic. In this project, we created experimental burn plots in a mature larch forest in the Kolyma River watershed of Northeastern Siberia. Plots were burned at several treatments: control (no burn), low, moderate, and severe. After 1 day, 8 days and 1 year post-fire, we measured CO2 flux from the plots, and measured dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total dissolved nitrogen (TDN), NH4, NO3, PO4, and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) from soil leachates. Furthermore, we measured extracellular activity of four enzymes involved in soil C and nutrient cycling (leucine aminopeptidase (LAP), β-glucosidase, phosphatase, and phenol oxidase). Both 1 day and 8 days post-fire DOC, TDN, NH4, and PO4 all increased with burn severity, but by 1 year they were similar to control plots. The aromaticity and molecular weight of DOM decreased with fire severity. One day post-fire we observed a spike in phenol oxidase activity in the severe burns only, and a decline in β-glucosidase and phosphatase activity. By 8 days post-fire all enzyme activities were at the level of the control plots. 1 year post-fire LAP, β-glucosidase, and phosphatase all decreased with fire severity, parallel to a decrease in CO2 flux by fire severity. Ratios of enzymatic activity 1 year post-fire reflect a switch of resource allocation from P acquiring to N acquiring activities in more severe fires. Our results show an immediate microbial response to the short-term effects

  3. In the dark: A review of ecosystem processes during the Arctic polar night

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berge, Jørgen; Renaud, Paul E.; Darnis, Gerald; Cottier, Finlo; Last, Kim; Gabrielsen, Tove M.; Johnsen, Geir; Seuthe, Lena; Weslawski, Jan Marcin; Leu, Eva; Moline, Mark; Nahrgang, Jasmine; Søreide, Janne E.; Varpe, Øystein; Lønne, Ole Jørgen; Daase, Malin; Falk-Petersen, Stig

    2015-12-01

    Several recent lines of evidence indicate that the polar night is key to understanding Arctic marine ecosystems. First, the polar night is not a period void of biological activity even though primary production is close to zero, but is rather characterized by a number of processes and interactions yet to be fully understood, including unanticipated high levels of feeding and reproduction in a wide range of taxa and habitats. Second, as more knowledge emerges, it is evident that a coupled physical and biological perspective of the ecosystem will redefine seasonality beyond the "calendar perspective". Third, it appears that many organisms may exhibit endogenous rhythms that trigger fitness-maximizing activities in the absence of light-based cues. Indeed a common adaptation appears to be the ability to utilize the dark season for reproduction. This and other processes are most likely adaptations to current environmental conditions and community and trophic structures of the ecosystem, and may have implications for how Arctic ecosystems can change under continued climatic warming.

  4. Herbivory Network: An international, collaborative effort to study herbivory in Arctic and alpine ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrio, I. C.; Hik, D. S.; Jónsdóttir, I. S.; Bueno, C. G.; Mörsdorf, M. A.; Ravolainen, V. T.

    2016-09-01

    Plant-herbivore interactions are central to the functioning of tundra ecosystems, but their outcomes vary over space and time. Accurate forecasting of ecosystem responses to ongoing environmental changes requires a better understanding of the processes responsible for this heterogeneity. To effectively address this complexity at a global scale, coordinated research efforts, including multi-site comparisons within and across disciplines, are needed. The Herbivory Network was established as a forum for researchers from Arctic and alpine regions to collaboratively investigate the multifunctional role of herbivores in these changing ecosystems. One of the priorities is to integrate sites, methodologies, and metrics used in previous work, to develop a set of common protocols and design long-term geographically-balanced, coordinated experiments. The implementation of these collaborative research efforts will also improve our understanding of traditional human-managed systems that encompass significant portions of the sub-Arctic and alpine areas worldwide. A deeper understanding of the role of herbivory in these systems under ongoing environmental changes will guide appropriate adaptive strategies to preserve their natural values and related ecosystem services.

  5. Effects of long-term nutrient additions on Arctic tundra, stream, and lake ecosystems: beyond NPP.

    PubMed

    Gough, Laura; Bettez, Neil D; Slavik, Karie A; Bowden, William B; Giblin, Anne E; Kling, George W; Laundre, James A; Shaver, Gaius R

    2016-11-01

    Primary producers form the base of food webs but also affect other ecosystem characteristics, such as habitat structure, light availability, and microclimate. Here, we examine changes caused by 5-30+ years of nutrient addition and resulting increases in net primary productivity (NPP) in tundra, streams, and lakes in northern Alaska. The Arctic provides an important opportunity to examine how ecosystems characterized by low diversity and low productivity respond to release from nutrient limitation. We review how responses of algae and plants affect light availability, perennial biotic structures available for consumers, oxygen levels, and temperature. Sometimes, responses were similar across all three ecosystems; e.g., increased NPP significantly reduced light to the substrate following fertilization. Perennial biotic structures increased in tundra and streams but not in lakes, and provided important new habitat niches for consumers as well as other producers. Oxygen and temperature responses also differed. Life history traits (e.g., longevity) of the primary producers along with the fate of detritus drove the responses and recovery. As global change persists and nutrients become more available in the Arctic and elsewhere, incorporating these factors as response variables will enable better prediction of ecosystem changes and feedbacks in this biome and others.

  6. Small birds, big effects: the little auk (Alle alle) transforms high Arctic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    González-Bergonzoni, Ivan; Johansen, Kasper L; Mosbech, Anders; Landkildehus, Frank; Jeppesen, Erik; Davidson, Thomas A

    2017-02-22

    In some arctic areas, marine-derived nutrients (MDN) resulting from fish migrations fuel freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, increasing primary production and biodiversity. Less is known, however, about the role of seabird-MDN in shaping ecosystems. Here, we examine how the most abundant seabird in the North Atlantic, the little auk (Alle alle), alters freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems around the North Water Polynya (NOW) in Greenland. We compare stable isotope ratios (δ(15)N and δ(13)C) of freshwater and terrestrial biota, terrestrial vegetation indices and physical-chemical properties, productivity and community structure of fresh waters in catchments with and without little auk colonies. The presence of colonies profoundly alters freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems by providing nutrients and massively enhancing primary production. Based on elevated δ(15)N in MDN, we estimate that MDN fuels more than 85% of terrestrial and aquatic biomass in bird influenced systems. Furthermore, by using different proxies of bird impact (colony distance, algal δ(15)N) it is possible to identify a gradient in ecosystem response to increasing bird impact. Little auk impact acidifies the freshwater systems, reducing taxonomic richness of macroinvertebrates and truncating food webs. These results demonstrate that the little auk acts as an ecosystem engineer, transforming ecosystems across a vast region of Northwest Greenland.

  7. Ecosystem responses to climate change at a Low Arctic and a High Arctic long-term research site.

    PubMed

    Hobbie, John E; Shaver, Gaius R; Rastetter, Edward B; Cherry, Jessica E; Goetz, Scott J; Guay, Kevin C; Gould, William A; Kling, George W

    2017-02-01

    Long-term measurements of ecological effects of warming are often not statistically significant because of annual variability or signal noise. These are reduced in indicators that filter or reduce the noise around the signal and allow effects of climate warming to emerge. In this way, certain indicators act as medium pass filters integrating the signal over years-to-decades. In the Alaskan Arctic, the 25-year record of warming of air temperature revealed no significant trend, yet environmental and ecological changes prove that warming is affecting the ecosystem. The useful indicators are deep permafrost temperatures, vegetation and shrub biomass, satellite measures of canopy reflectance (NDVI), and chemical measures of soil weathering. In contrast, the 18-year record in the Greenland Arctic revealed an extremely high summer air-warming of 1.3 °C/decade; the cover of some plant species increased while the cover of others decreased. Useful indicators of change are NDVI and the active layer thickness.

  8. Carbon and nitrogen isotope studies in an arctic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1989-01-01

    This proposal requests funding for the completion of our current ecological studies at the MS-117 research site at Toolik Lake, Alaska. We have been using a mix of stable and radioisotope techniques to assess the fluxes of carbon and nitrogen within the ecosystem and the implications for long-term carbon storage or loss from the tundra. Several tentative conclusions have emerged from our study including: Tundra in the foothills is no longer accumulating carbon. Surficial radiocarbon abundances show little or no accumulation since 1000--2500 yrs BP. Coastal plain tundra is still accumulating carbon, but the rate of accumulation has dropped in the last few thousand years. Carbon export from watersheds in the Kuparuk and Imnavait Creek drainages are in excess of that expected from estimated primary productivity; and Nitrogen isotope abundances vary between species of plants and along hydrologic gradients.

  9. Carbon and nitrogen isotope studies in an arctic aquatic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1989-01-01

    The Phase II studies of the R4D Program on stream and watershed ecology reflect the accomplishments and accumulation of baseline information obtained during the past studies. Although our rough estimates indicate that nitrogen inputs to the watershed ba lance losses, the carbon fluxes suggest that they are not in equilibrium and that there is a net loss of carbon from the tundra ecosystem through respiration and transport out of the watershed via the stream system. Radiocarbon profiles of soil sections coupled with mass transport calculations revealed that peat accumulation has essentially ceased in the R4D watershed and appears to be in ablative loss. Thus the carbon flux measurements provide validation tests for the PLANTGRO and GAS-HYDRO models of the PHASE II studies. These findings are also important in the context of global CO[sub 2] increases from positive feedback mechanisms in peatlands associated with climatic warming in the subarctic regions.

  10. Carbon and nitrogen isotope studies in an arctic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1989-12-31

    This proposal requests funding for the completion of our current ecological studies at the MS-117 research site at Toolik Lake, Alaska. We have been using a mix of stable and radioisotope techniques to assess the fluxes of carbon and nitrogen within the ecosystem and the implications for long-term carbon storage or loss from the tundra. Several tentative conclusions have emerged from our study including: Tundra in the foothills is no longer accumulating carbon. Surficial radiocarbon abundances show little or no accumulation since 1000--2500 yrs BP. Coastal plain tundra is still accumulating carbon, but the rate of accumulation has dropped in the last few thousand years. Carbon export from watersheds in the Kuparuk and Imnavait Creek drainages are in excess of that expected from estimated primary productivity; and Nitrogen isotope abundances vary between species of plants and along hydrologic gradients.

  11. Carbon and nitrogen isotope studies in an arctic aquatic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1989-12-31

    The Phase II studies of the R4D Program on stream and watershed ecology reflect the accomplishments and accumulation of baseline information obtained during the past studies. Although our rough estimates indicate that nitrogen inputs to the watershed ba lance losses, the carbon fluxes suggest that they are not in equilibrium and that there is a net loss of carbon from the tundra ecosystem through respiration and transport out of the watershed via the stream system. Radiocarbon profiles of soil sections coupled with mass transport calculations revealed that peat accumulation has essentially ceased in the R4D watershed and appears to be in ablative loss. Thus the carbon flux measurements provide validation tests for the PLANTGRO and GAS-HYDRO models of the PHASE II studies. These findings are also important in the context of global CO{sub 2} increases from positive feedback mechanisms in peatlands associated with climatic warming in the subarctic regions.

  12. Photodemethylation of Methylmercury in Eastern Canadian Arctic Thaw Pond and Lake Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Girard, Catherine; Leclerc, Maxime; Amyot, Marc

    2016-04-05

    Permafrost thaw ponds of the warming Eastern Canadian Arctic are major landscape constituents and often display high levels of methylmercury (MeHg). We examined photodegradation potentials in high-dissolved organic matter (DOC) thaw ponds on Bylot Island (BYL) and a low-DOC oligotrophic lake on Cornwallis Island (Char Lake). In BYL, the ambient MeHg photodemethylation (PD) rate over 48 h of solar exposure was 6.1 × 10(-3) m(2) E(-1), and the rate in MeHg amended samples was 9.3 × 10(-3) m(2) E(-1). In contrast, in low-DOC Char Lake, PD was only observed in the first 12 h, which suggests that PD may not be an important loss process in polar desert lakes. Thioglycolic acid addition slowed PD, while glutathione and chlorides did not impact northern PD rates. During an ecosystem-wide experiment conducted in a covered BYL pond, there was neither net MeHg increase in the dark nor loss attributable to PD following re-exposure to sunlight. We propose that high-DOC Arctic thaw ponds are more prone to MeHg PD than nearby oligotrophic lakes, likely through photoproduction of reactive species rather than via thiol complexation. However, at the ecosystem level, these ponds, which are widespread through the Arctic, remain likely sources of MeHg for neighboring systems.

  13. Some New Windows into Terrestrial Deep Subsurface Microbial Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moser, D. P.

    2011-12-01

    Over the past several years, our group has surveyed the microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of a range of fracture rock subsurface ecosystems via deep mine boreholes in South Africa, the United States, and Canada; and boreholes from surface or deeply-sourced natural springs of the U.S. Great Basin. Collectively, these mostly unexplored habitats represent a wide range of geologic provinces, host rock types, aquatic chemistries, and the vast potential for biogeographic isolation. Thus, patterns of microbial diversity are of interest from the perspective of filling a fundamental knowledge gap; and while not necessarily expected, the detection of closely related microorganisms from geographically isolated settings would be noteworthy. Across these sample sets, microbial communities were invariably very low in biomass (e.g. 10e3 - 10e4 cells per mL) and dominated by deeply-branching bacterial lineages, particularly from the phyla Firmicutes and Nitrospira. In several cases, the Firmicutes have shown very close phylogenetic affiliations to lineages detected at divergent locations. For example, one abundant lineage from a new artesian well drilled into the Furnace Creek Fault of Death Valley, CA bears a very close phylogenetic relatedness to environmental DNA sequences (SSU rRNA gene) detected in one of the world's deepest mines (Tau Tona of South Africa) and what was North America's deepest gold mine (Homestake of South Dakota). Several radioactive wells from the Nevada National Security Site have produced rRNA gene sequences very close (e.g. greater than 99% identity) to that of Desulforudis audaxviator, a rarely detected microorganism thought to subsist as a single species ecosystem on the products of radiochemical reactions in deep crustal rocks from the South African Witwatersrand Basin. These sequences, along with more distantly related sequences from the marine subsurface (ridge flank basalt and mud volcanoes) and groundwater in Europe, hint at a role in certain

  14. Arctic ecosystem responses to changes in water table and surface warming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olivas, P. C.; Oberbauer, S. F.; Tweedie, C. E.; Oechel, W. C.

    2009-12-01

    Although low in productivity, arctic ecosystems store close to 20% of the global soil carbon as a result of low decomposition rates enhanced by high soil moisture availability and low temperatures. Expected global climatic changes are likely to significantly increase the temperature in the Arctic, disturbing surface soil moisture patterns and potentially increasing turnover of soil organic matter, thus reversing the role of the Arctic as a carbon sink. Our goal was to determine the short-term ecosystem CO2 exchange response to drying, flooding, and warming, and understand the potential effects that climatic changes could have on the long-term carbon balance of the Arctic. We carried out this study during the growing seasons from 2006 to 2008 on the coastal plain near Barrow, Alaska. We used a 62 ha thawed lake, divided into three sections: drained, flooded and intermediate treatments. Temperature treated plots were replicated within each water treatment category using open top chambers. We assessed ecosystem responses to water and temperature treatments as: ecosystem respiration (ER), gross primary photosynthesis (GPP) and net ecosystem balance (NEE) using chamber-based measurements. We found a strong CO2 exchange response to changes in water table and surface temperature. However, the magnitude of the response differed among carbon flux components. Although flooding increased NEE, the increase was more a result of a decrease in ER rather than an increase in GPP. High water tables can also reduce GPP by submerging leaf area, especially that of mosses. Drying increased ER and GPP, however, species composition and microtopography position affected the magnitude of the changes ultimately affecting NEE. Areas dominated by mosses experienced a reduction of sink capacity, whereas areas dominated by vascular plants experienced an increase in NEE regardless of the drying of the moss layer. Warming affected all CO2 flux components. GPP increased in all treatments except in

  15. Interactions between snow chemistry, mercury inputs and microbial population dynamics in an Arctic snowpack.

    PubMed

    Larose, Catherine; Prestat, Emmanuel; Cecillon, Sébastien; Berger, Sibel; Malandain, Cédric; Lyon, Delina; Ferrari, Christophe; Schneider, Dominique; Dommergue, Aurélien; Vogel, Timothy M

    2013-01-01

    We investigated the interactions between snowpack chemistry, mercury (Hg) contamination and microbial community structure and function in Arctic snow. Snowpack chemistry (inorganic and organic ions) including mercury (Hg) speciation was studied in samples collected during a two-month field study in a high Arctic site, Svalbard, Norway (79 °N). Shifts in microbial community structure were determined by using a 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic microarray. We linked snowpack and meltwater chemistry to changes in microbial community structure by using co-inertia analyses (CIA) and explored changes in community function due to Hg contamination by q-PCR quantification of Hg-resistance genes in metagenomic samples. Based on the CIA, chemical and microbial data were linked (p = 0.006) with bioavailable Hg (BioHg) and methylmercury (MeHg) contributing significantly to the ordination of samples. Mercury was shown to influence community function with increases in merA gene copy numbers at low BioHg levels. Our results show that snowpacks can be considered as dynamic habitats with microbial and chemical components responding rapidly to environmental changes.

  16. Differential methane oxidation activity and microbial community composition at cold seeps in the Arctic off western Svalbard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gründger, Friederike; Svenning, Mette M.; Niemann, Helge; Silyakova, Anna; Serov, Pavel; Li Hong, Wei; Wegener, Gunter; Panieri, Giuliana; Carroll, JoLynn

    2016-04-01

    Most models considering climate change related bottom water warming suggest that gas hydrates may become destabilized, leading to the mobilization of methane into seabed and water column ecosystems, and, eventually, into the atmosphere. However, the capacity of methanotrophic microbes retaining methane in sediments and the hydrosphere is not well constrained. Here, we investigate the microbial utilization of methane in sediments and the water column, focusing on cold seeps discovered at the arctic continental margin of western Svalbard. We measured ex situ rates of methane oxidation and sulfate reduction in two active gas flare sites with different geological settings at the Vestnesa Ridge (1204 m water depth) and within a pingolike feature area southwest off Svalbard (PLF; 380 m water depth). Our results show contrarily situations at our two sampling sites: At Vestnesa Ridge we find high methane oxidation rates with values up to 2055 nmol cm-3 d-1 at the sediment surface where the sediments are oversaturated with methane. Whereas, methane concentration and oxidation rates are low in the overlying water column (2 pmol cm-3 d-1). In contrast, at the sediment surface at PLF methane concentration and oxidation rates are considerably lower (up to 1.8 nmol cm-3 d-1). While the overlying bottom water contains high concentration of methane and shows oxidation rates with values of up to 3.8 nmol cm-3 d-1. The data on methane oxidation and sulfate reduction activity are compared to the sediment geochemistry and to data from metagenomic analysis identifying the methanotrophic community composition. These results provide unique insight into the dynamic responses of the seabed biological filter at cold seeps in the Arctic off western Svalbard. This study is part of the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate and was supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme grant No. 223259.

  17. Arctic ecosystem structure and functioning shaped by climate and herbivore body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Legagneux, P.; Gauthier, G.; Lecomte, N.; Schmidt, N. M.; Reid, D.; Cadieux, M.-C.; Berteaux, D.; Bêty, J.; Krebs, C. J.; Ims, R. A.; Yoccoz, N. G.; Morrison, R. I. G.; Leroux, S. J.; Loreau, M.; Gravel, D.

    2014-05-01

    Significant progress has been made in our understanding of species-level responses to climate change, but upscaling to entire ecosystems remains a challenge. This task is particularly urgent in the Arctic, where global warming is most pronounced. Here we report the results of an international collaboration on the direct and indirect effects of climate on the functioning of Arctic terrestrial ecosystems. Our data from seven terrestrial food webs spread along a wide range of latitudes (~1,500 km) and climates (Δ mean July temperature = 8.5 °C) across the circumpolar world show the effects of climate on tundra primary production, food-web structure and species interaction strength. The intensity of predation on lower trophic levels increased significantly with temperature, at approximately 4.5% per °C. Temperature also affected trophic interactions through an indirect effect on food-web structure (that is, diversity and number of interactions). Herbivore body size was a major determinant of predator-prey interactions, as interaction strength was positively related to the predator-prey size ratio, with large herbivores mostly escaping predation. There is potential for climate warming to cause a switch from bottom-up to top-down regulation of herbivores. These results are critical to resolving the debate on the regulation of tundra and other terrestrial ecosystems exposed to global change.

  18. Hydrology modifies ecosystem responses to warming through interactions between soil, leaf and canopy processes in a high Arctic ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maseyk, K. S.; Welker, J. M.; Lett, C.; Czimczik, C. I.; Lupascu, M.; Seibt, U. H.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are experiencing temperature increases more strongly than the global average, and increases in precipitation are also expected amongst the climate impacts on this region in the future. These changes are expected to strongly influence both plant physiology and soil biogeochemistry, and therefore ecosystem carbon balance, hydrology and nutrient cycling. We have investigated the effects of a long-term (10 years) increase in temperature (T2), soil water (W) and the combination of both (T2W) on leaf-level structure and function and ecosystem CO2 and water fluxes in a tundra ecosystem at a field manipulation experiment in NW Greenland. Leaf-level gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and morphology were measured on Salix arctica plants in treatment and control plots in June-July 2011, and continuous measurements of net ecosystem fluxes of carbon and water were made using automatic chambers coupled to a trace gas analyzer. Contrasting responses to the treatments were observed between leaf-level and net ecosystem fluxes. Plants in the elevated temperature treatment had the highest leaf-level photosynthetic capacity in terms of net CO2 assimilation rates and photosystem II efficiencies, and lowest rates of non-photochemical energy dissipation during photosynthesis. The plants in the plots with both elevated temperatures and additional water had the lowest photosystem II efficiencies and the highest rates of non-photochemical energy dissipation. However, net photosynthetic rates remained similar to control plants with additional water, due in part to higher stomatal conductance (W) and lower dark respiration rates (T2W). In contrast, net ecosystem CO2 and water fluxes were highest in the T2W plots, due largely to a 35% increase in leaf area. Total growing season C accumulation was 3-5 times greater, water fluxes were 1.5-2 times higher, and water use efficiency was about 3 times higher in the combined treatment than the control

  19. Soil-plant N processes in a High Arctic ecosystem, NW Greenland are altered by long-term experimental warming and higher rainfall.

    PubMed

    Schaeffer, Sean M; Sharp, Elizabeth; Schimel, Joshua P; Welker, Jeffery M

    2013-11-01

    Rapid temperature and precipitation changes in High Arctic tundra ecosystems are altering the biogeochemical cycles of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), but in ways that are difficult to predict. The challenge grows from the uncertainty of N cycle responses and the extent to which shifts in soil N are coupled with the C cycle and productivity of tundra systems. We used a long-term (since 2003) experiment of summer warming and supplemental summer water additions to a High Arctic ecosystem in NW Greenland, and applied a combination of discrete sampling and in situ soil core incubations to measure C and N pools and seasonal microbial processes that might control plant-available N. We hypothesized that elevated temperature and increased precipitation would stimulate microbial activity and net inorganic N mineralization, thereby increasing plant N-availability through the growing season. While we did find increased N mineralization rates under both global change scenarios, water addition also significantly increased net nitrification rates, loss of NO3 (-) -N via leaching, and lowered rates of labile organic N production. We also expected the chronic warming and watering would lead to long-term changes in soil N-cycling that would be reflected in soil δ(15) N values. We found that soil δ(15) N decreased under the different climate change scenarios. Our results suggest that temperature accelerates biological processes and existing C and N transformations, but moisture increases soil hydraulic connectivity and so alters the pathways, and changes the fate of the products of C and N transformations. In addition, our findings indicate that warmer, wetter High Arctic tundra will be cycling N and C in ways that may transform these landscapes in part leading to greater C sequestration, but simultaneously, N losses from the upper soil profile that may be transported to depth dissolved in water and or transported off site in lateral flow.

  20. Light-stress avoidance mechanisms in a Sphagnum-dominated wet coastal Arctic tundra ecosystem in Alaska.

    PubMed

    Zona, D; Oechel, Walter C; Richards, James H; Hastings, Steven; Kopetz, Irene; Ikawa, Hiroki; Oberbauer, Steven

    2011-03-01

    The Arctic experiences a high-radiation environment in the summer with 24-hour daylight for more than two months. Damage to plants and ecosystem metabolism can be muted by overcast conditions common in much of the Arctic. However, with climate change, extreme dry years and clearer skies could lead to the risk of increased photoxidation and photoinhibition in Arctic primary producers. Mosses, which often exceed the NPP of vascular plants in Arctic areas, are often understudied. As a result, the effect of specific environmental factors, including light, on these growth forms is poorly understood. Here, we investigated net ecosystem exchange (NEE) at the ecosystem scale, net Sphagnum CO2 exchange (NSE), and photoinhibition to better understand the impact of light on carbon exchange from a moss-dominated coastal tundra ecosystem during the summer season 2006. Sphagnum photosynthesis showed photoinhibition early in the season coupled with low ecosystem NEE. However, later in the season, Sphagnum maintained a significant CO2 uptake, probably for the development of subsurface moss layers protected from strong radiation. We suggest that the compact canopy structure of Sphagnum reduces light penetration to the subsurface layers of the moss mat and thereby protects the active photosynthetic tissues from damage. This stress avoidance mechanism allowed Sphagnum to constitute a significant percentage (up to 60%) of the ecosystem net daytime CO2 uptake at the end of the growing season despite the high levels of radiation experienced.

  1. Insights into the Processing of Carbon by Early Microbial Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, D.; Bebout, B.; Carpenter, S.; Discipulo, S.; Londry, K.; Habicht, K.; Turk, K.

    2003-01-01

    Interactions between Earth and the biosphere that were crucial for early biological evolution also influenced substantially the processes that circulate C between its reservoirs in the atmosphere, ocean, crust and mantle. The C-13 C-12 values of crustal carbonates and organics have recorded changes both in biological discrimination and in the relative rates of burial of organics and carbonates. A full interpretation of these patterns needs further isotopic studies of microbial ecosystems and individual anaerobes. Thus we measured carbon isotope discrimination during autotrophic and heterotrophic growth of pure cultures of sulfate-reducing bacteria and archaea (SRB and SRA). Discrimination during CO2 assimilation is significantly larger than during heterotrophic growth on lactate or acetate. SRB grown lithoautotrophically consumed less than 3% of available CO2 and exhibited substantial discrimination, as follows: Desulfobacterium autotrophicum (alpha 1.0100 to 1.0123), Desulfobacter hydrogenophilus (alpha = 0.0138), and Desulfotomuculum acetoxidans (alpha = 1.0310). Mixotrophic growth of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans on acetate and CO2 resulted in biomass with delta C-13 composition intermediate to that of the substrates. We have recently extended these experiments to include the thermophilic SRA Archeoglobus spp. Ecological forces also influence isotopic discrimination. Accordingly, we quantified the flow of C and other constituents in modern marine cyanobacterial mats, whose ancestry extends back billions of years. Such ecosystem processes shaped the biosignatures that entered sediments and atmospheres. At Guerrero Negro, BCS, Mexico, we examined mats dominated by Microcoleus (subtidal) and Lyngbya (intertidal to supratidal) cyanobacteria. During 24 hour cycles, we observed the exchange of O2 and dissolved inorganic C (DIC) between mats and the overlying water. Microcoleus mats assimilated near-equal amounts of DIC during the day as they released at night, but

  2. Heterotrophic and autotrophic microbial populations in cold perennial springs of the high arctic.

    PubMed

    Perreault, Nancy N; Greer, Charles W; Andersen, Dale T; Tille, Stefanie; Lacrampe-Couloume, Georges; Lollar, Barbara Sherwood; Whyte, Lyle G

    2008-11-01

    The saline springs of Gypsum Hill in the Canadian high Arctic are a rare example of cold springs originating from deep groundwater and rising to the surface through thick permafrost. The heterotrophic bacteria and autotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (up to 40% of the total microbial community) isolated from the spring waters and sediments were classified into four phyla (Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria) based on 16S rRNA gene analysis; heterotrophic isolates were primarily psychrotolerant, salt-tolerant, facultative anaerobes. Some of the isolates contained genes for thiosulfate oxidation (soxB) and anoxygenic photosynthesis (pufM), possibly enabling the strains to better compete in these sulfur-rich environments subject to long periods of illumination in the Arctic summer. Although leucine uptake by the spring water microbial community was low, CO(2) uptake was relatively high under dark incubation, reinforcing the idea that primary production by chemoautotrophs is an important process in the springs. The small amounts of hydrocarbons in gases exsolving from the springs (0.38 to 0.51% CH(4)) were compositionally and isotopically consistent with microbial methanogenesis and possible methanotrophy. Anaerobic heterotrophic sulfur oxidation and aerobic autotrophic sulfur oxidation activities were demonstrated in sediment slurries. Overall, our results describe an active microbial community capable of sustainability in an extreme environment that experiences prolonged periods of continuous light or darkness, low temperatures, and moderate salinity, where life seems to rely on chemolithoautotrophy.

  3. Potential drivers of microbial community structure and function in Arctic spring snow.

    PubMed

    Maccario, Lorrie; Vogel, Timothy M; Larose, Catherine

    2014-01-01

    The Arctic seasonal snowpack can extend at times over a third of the Earth's land surface. This chemically dynamic environment interacts constantly with different environmental compartments such as atmosphere, soil and meltwater, and thus, strongly influences the entire biosphere. However, the microbial community associated with this habitat remains poorly understood. Our objective was to investigate the functional capacities, diversity and dynamics of the microorganisms in snow and to test the hypothesis that their functional signature reflects the snow environment. We applied a metagenomic approach to nine snow samples taken over 2 months during the spring season. Fungi, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria were predominant in metagenomic datasets and changes in community structure were apparent throughout the field season. Functional data that strongly correlated with chemical parameters like mercury or nitrogen species supported that this variation could be explained by fluctuations in environmental conditions. Through inter-environmental comparisons we examined potential drivers of snowpack microbial community functioning. Known cold adaptations were detected in all compared environments without any apparent differences in their relative abundance, implying that adaptive mechanisms related to environmental factors other than temperature may play a role in defining the snow microbial community. Photochemical reactions and oxidative stress seem to be decisive parameters in structuring microbial communities inside Arctic snowpacks.

  4. An open source platform for multi-scale spatially distributed simulations of microbial ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Segre, Daniel

    2014-08-14

    The goal of this project was to develop a tool for facilitating simulation, validation and discovery of multiscale dynamical processes in microbial ecosystems. This led to the development of an open-source software platform for Computation Of Microbial Ecosystems in Time and Space (COMETS). COMETS performs spatially distributed time-dependent flux balance based simulations of microbial metabolism. Our plan involved building the software platform itself, calibrating and testing it through comparison with experimental data, and integrating simulations and experiments to address important open questions on the evolution and dynamics of cross-feeding interactions between microbial species.

  5. Ciliate biogeography in Antarctic and Arctic freshwater ecosystems: endemism or global distribution of species?

    PubMed

    Petz, Wolfgang; Valbonesi, Alessandro; Schiftner, Uwe; Quesada, Antonio; Cynan Ellis-Evans, J

    2007-02-01

    Ciliate diversity was investigated in situ in freshwater ecosystems of the maritime (South Shetland Islands, mainly Livingston Island, 63 degrees S) and continental Antarctic (Victoria Land, 75 degrees S), and the High Arctic (Svalbard, 79 degrees N). In total, 334 species from 117 genera were identified in both polar regions, i.e. 210 spp. (98 genera) in the Arctic, 120 spp. (73 genera) in the maritime and 59 spp. (41 genera) in the continental Antarctic. Forty-four species (13% of all species) were common to both Arctic and Antarctic freshwater bodies and 19 spp. to both Antarctic areas (12% of all species). Many taxa are cosmopolitans but some, e.g. Stentor and Metopus spp., are not, and over 20% of the taxa found in any one of the three areas are new to science. Cluster analysis revealed that species similarity between different biotopes (soil, moss) within a study area was higher than between similar biotopes in different regions. Distinct differences in the species composition of freshwater and terrestrial communities indicate that most limnetic ciliates are not ubiquitously distributed. These observations and the low congruence in species composition between both polar areas, within Antarctica and between high- and temperate-latitude water bodies, respectively, suggest that long-distance dispersal of limnetic ciliates is restricted and that some species have a limited geographical distribution.

  6. Spatial and temporal trends of contaminants in Canadian Arctic freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems: a review.

    PubMed

    Braune, B; Muir, D; DeMarch, B; Gamberg, M; Poole, K; Currie, R; Dodd, M; Duschenko, W; Eamer, J; Elkin, B; Evans, M; Grundy, S; Hebert, C; Johnstone, R; Kidd, K; Koenig, B; Lockhart, L; Marshall, H; Reimer, K; Sanderson, J; Shutt, L

    1999-06-01

    The state of knowledge of contaminants in Canadian Arctic biota of the freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems has advanced enormously since the publication of the first major reviews by Lockhart et al. and Thomas et al. in The Science of the Total Environment in 1992. The most significant gains are new knowledge of spatial trends of organochlorines and heavy metal contaminants in terrestrial animals, such as caribou and mink, and in waterfowl, where no information was previously available. Spatial trends in freshwater fish have been broadened, especially in the Yukon, where contaminant measurements of, for example, organochlorines were previously non-existent. A review of contaminants data for fish from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and northern Quebec showed mercury as the one contaminant which consistently exceeds guideline limits for subsistence consumption or commercial sale. Lake trout and northern pike in the Canadian Shield lakes of the Northwest Territories and northern Quebec generally had the most elevated levels. Levels of other heavy metals were generally not elevated in fish. Toxaphene was the major organochlorine contaminant in all fish analyzed. The concentrations of organochlorine contaminants in fish appear to be a function not only of trophic level but of other aspects of the lake ecosystem. Among Arctic terrestrial mammals, PCBs and cadmium were the most prominent contaminants in the species analyzed. Relatively high levels (10-60 micrograms g-1) of cadmium were observed in kidney and liver of caribou from the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and northern Quebec, with concentrations in western herds being higher than in those from the east. For the organochlorine contaminants, a west to east increase in zigma PCBs, HCB and zigma HCH was found in caribou, probably as a result of the predominant west to east/north-east atmospheric circulation pattern which delivers these contaminants from industrialized regions of central and eastern North

  7. Visualizing microbial dechlorination processes in underground ecosystem by statistical correlation and network analysis approach.

    PubMed

    Yamazawa, Akira; Date, Yasuhiro; Ito, Keijiro; Kikuchi, Jun

    2014-03-01

    Microbial ecosystems are typified by diverse microbial interactions and competition. Consequently, the microbial networks and metabolic dynamics of bioprocesses catalyzed by these ecosystems are highly complex, and their visualization is regarded as essential to bioengineering technology and innovation. Here we describe a means of visualizing the variants in a microbial community and their metabolic profiles. The approach enables previously unidentified bacterial functions in the ecosystems to be elucidated. We investigated the anaerobic bioremediation of chlorinated ethene in a soil column experiment as a case study. Microbial community and dechlorination profiles in the ecosystem were evaluated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting and gas chromatography, respectively. Dechlorination profiles were obtained from changes in dechlorination by microbial community (evaluated by data mining methods). Individual microbes were then associated with their dechlorination profiles by heterogenous correlation analysis. Our correlation-based visualization approach enables deduction of the roles and functions of bacteria in the dechlorination of chlorinated ethenes. Because it estimates functions and relationships between unidentified microbes and metabolites in microbial ecosystems, this approach is proposed as a control-logic tool by which to understand complex microbial processes.

  8. The response of microbial communities to diverse organic matter sources in the Arctic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dyda, Rachael Y.; Suzuki, Marcelino T.; Yoshinaga, Marcos Y.; Rodger Harvey, H.

    2009-08-01

    The response of Arctic microbial communities to a variety of natural organic matter substrates, including peat, ice algae and ice-rafted debris was examined using bacterial regrowth experiments and compared to unamended controls. Bacterial growth and production were followed together with the phylogenetic composition using length-heterogeneity polymerase chain reaction (LH-PCR), and 16S rRNA gene cloning and sequencing. Intact phospholipids (IPLs) and fatty acids evaluated the relationship between lipids and bacterial community structure and the impact of varied organic substrates on microbial lipid synthesis. Differential responses to organic matter sources were observed, with ice algae supporting both higher bacterial growth and production than terrestrial-derived peat. In spite of disparate growth kinetics, the community composition remained similar in all amended incubations as was confirmed by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA). Gammaproteobacteria dominated the initial incubations, whereas in extended incubations with terrestrial peat Alphaproteobacteria dominated; in particular Sulfitobacter phylotypes closely related (>99%) to an Arctic sea-ice-associated member of the Roseobacter clade (ARK10278). Arctic bacterioplankton preferentially synthesized two phospholipids, phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylglygerol (PG), with 18:0n, 18:1Δ11, 16:0n and 16:1Δ9 as the primary fatty acids. Overall, results show that organic matter source plays an important role in structuring bacterioplankton community composition, with similar IPL and fatty acid lipid distributions observed among phylogenetically distinct bacteria.

  9. Wastewater treatment and public health in Nunavut: a microbial risk assessment framework for the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Daley, Kiley; Jamieson, Rob; Rainham, Daniel; Truelstrup Hansen, Lisbeth

    2017-02-21

    Wastewater management in Canadian Arctic communities is influenced by several geographical factors including climate, remoteness, population size, and local food-harvesting practices. Most communities use trucked collection services and basic treatment systems, which are capable of only low-level pathogen removal. These systems are typically reliant solely on natural environmental processes for treatment and make use of existing lagoons, wetlands, and bays. They are operated in a manner such that partially treated wastewater still containing potentially hazardous microorganisms is released into the terrestrial and aquatic environment at random times. Northern communities rely heavily on their local surroundings as a source of food, drinking water, and recreation, thus creating the possibility of human exposure to wastewater effluent. Human exposure to microbial hazards present in municipal wastewater can lead to acute gastrointestinal illness or more severe disease. Although estimating the actual disease burdens associated with wastewater exposures in Arctic communities is challenging, waterborne- and sanitation-related illness is believed to be comparatively higher than in other parts of Canada. This review offers a conceptual framework and evaluation of current knowledge to enable the first microbial risk assessment of exposure scenarios associated with food-harvesting and recreational activities in Arctic communities, where simplified wastewater systems are being operated.

  10. Conceptual data modeling of wildlife response indicators to ecosystem change in the Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walworth, Dennis; Pearce, John M.

    2015-08-06

    Large research studies are often challenged to effectively expose and document the types of information being collected and the reasons for data collection across what are often a diverse cadre of investigators of differing disciplines. We applied concepts from the field of information or data modeling to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) initiative to prototype an application of information modeling. The USGS CAE initiative is collecting information from marine and terrestrial environments in Alaska to identify and understand the links between rapid physical changes in the Arctic and response of wildlife populations to these ecosystem changes. An associated need is to understand how data collection strategies are informing the overall science initiative and facilitating communication of those strategies to a wide audience. We explored the use of conceptual data modeling to provide a method by which to document, describe, and visually communicate both enterprise and study level data; provide a simple means to analyze commonalities and differences in data acquisition strategies between studies; and provide a tool for discussing those strategies among researchers and managers.

  11. Microbial diversity, producer-decomposer interactions and ecosystem processes: a theoretical model.

    PubMed

    Loreau, M

    2001-02-07

    Interactions between the diversity of primary producers and that of decomposers--the two key functional groups that form the basis of all ecosystems--might have major consequences on the functioning of depauperate ecosystems. I present a simple ecosystem model in which primary producers (plants) and decomposers (microbes) are linked through material cycling. The model considers a diversity of plant organic compounds and a diversity of microbial species. Nutrient recycling efficiency from organic compounds to decomposers is then the key parameter that controls ecosystem processes (primary productivity, secondary productivity, producer biomass and decomposer biomass). The model predicts that microbial diversity has a positive effect on nutrient recycling efficiency and ecosystem processes through either greater intensity of microbial exploitation of organic compounds or functional niche complementarity, much like in plants. Microbial niche breadth and overlap should not affect ecosystem processes unless they increase the number of organic compounds that are decomposed. In contrast, the model predicts that plant organic compound diversity can only have a negative effect or, at best, no effect on ecosystem processes, at least in a constant environment. This creates a tension between the effects of plant diversity and microbial diversity on ecosystem functioning, which may explain some recent experimental results.

  12. The relation between productivity and species diversity in temperate-Arctic marine ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Witman, Jon D; Cusson, Mathieu; Archambault, Philippe; Pershing, Andrew J; Mieszkowska, Nova

    2008-11-01

    Energy variables, such as evapotranspiration, temperature, and productivity explain significant variation in the diversity of many groups of terrestrial plants and animals at local to global scales. Although the ocean represents the largest continuous habitat on earth with a vast spectrum of primary productivity and species richness, little is known about how productivity influences species diversity in marine systems. To search for general relationships between productivity and species richness in the ocean, we analyzed data from three different benthic marine ecosystems (epifaunal communities on subtidal rock walls, on navigation buoys in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Canadian Arctic macrobenthos) across local to continental spatial scales (<20 to >1000 km) using a standardized proxy for productivity, satellite-derived chlorophyll a. Theoretically, the form of the function between productivity and species richness is either monotonically increasing or decreasing, or curvilinear (hump- or U-shaped). We found three negative linear and three hump-shaped relationships between chlorophyll a and species richness out of 10 independent comparisons. Scale dependence was suggested by more prevalent diversity-productivity relationships at smaller (local, landscape) than larger (regional, continental) spatial scales. Differences in the form of the functions were more closely allied with community type than with scale, as negative linear functions were restricted to sessile epifauna while hump-shaped functions occurred in Arctic macrobenthos (mixed epifauna, infauna). In two of the data sets, (St. Lawrence epifauna and Arctic macrobenthos) significant effects of chlorophyll a co-varied with the effects of salinity, suggesting that environmental stress as well as productivity influences diversity in these marine systems. The co-varying effect of salinity may commonly arise in broad-scale studies of productivity and diversity in marine ecosystems when attempting to sample the

  13. Energy landscapes shape microbial communities in hydrothermal systems on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge.

    PubMed

    Dahle, Håkon; Økland, Ingeborg; Thorseth, Ingunn H; Pederesen, Rolf B; Steen, Ida H

    2015-07-01

    Methods developed in geochemical modelling combined with recent advances in molecular microbial ecology provide new opportunities to explore how microbial communities are shaped by their chemical surroundings. Here, we present a framework for analyses of how chemical energy availability shape chemotrophic microbial communities in hydrothermal systems through an investigation of two geochemically different basalt-hosted hydrothermal systems on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge: the Soria Moria Vent field (SMVF) and the Loki's Castle Vent Field (LCVF). Chemical energy landscapes were evaluated through modelling of the Gibbs energy from selected redox reactions under different mixing ratios between seawater and hydrothermal fluids. Our models indicate that the sediment-influenced LCVF has a much higher potential for both anaerobic and aerobic methane oxidation, as well as aerobic ammonium and hydrogen oxidation, than the SMVF. The modelled energy landscapes were used to develop microbial community composition models, which were compared with community compositions in environmental samples inside or on the exterior of hydrothermal chimneys, as assessed by pyrosequencing of partial 16S rRNA genes. We show that modelled microbial communities based solely on thermodynamic considerations can have a high predictive power and provide a framework for analyses of the link between energy availability and microbial community composition.

  14. Energy landscapes shape microbial communities in hydrothermal systems on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge

    PubMed Central

    Dahle, Håkon; Økland, Ingeborg; Thorseth, Ingunn H; Pederesen, Rolf B; Steen, Ida H

    2015-01-01

    Methods developed in geochemical modelling combined with recent advances in molecular microbial ecology provide new opportunities to explore how microbial communities are shaped by their chemical surroundings. Here, we present a framework for analyses of how chemical energy availability shape chemotrophic microbial communities in hydrothermal systems through an investigation of two geochemically different basalt-hosted hydrothermal systems on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge: the Soria Moria Vent field (SMVF) and the Loki's Castle Vent Field (LCVF). Chemical energy landscapes were evaluated through modelling of the Gibbs energy from selected redox reactions under different mixing ratios between seawater and hydrothermal fluids. Our models indicate that the sediment-influenced LCVF has a much higher potential for both anaerobic and aerobic methane oxidation, as well as aerobic ammonium and hydrogen oxidation, than the SMVF. The modelled energy landscapes were used to develop microbial community composition models, which were compared with community compositions in environmental samples inside or on the exterior of hydrothermal chimneys, as assessed by pyrosequencing of partial 16S rRNA genes. We show that modelled microbial communities based solely on thermodynamic considerations can have a high predictive power and provide a framework for analyses of the link between energy availability and microbial community composition. PMID:25575309

  15. Spatial and temporal trends and effects of contaminants in the Canadian Arctic marine ecosystem: a review.

    PubMed

    Muir, D; Braune, B; DeMarch, B; Norstrom, R; Wagemann, R; Lockhart, L; Hargrave, B; Bright, D; Addison, R; Payne, J; Reimer, K

    1999-06-01

    Recent studies have added substantially to our knowledge of spatial and temporal trends of persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals in the Canadian Arctic marine ecosystem. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of contaminants in marine biota in the Canadian Arctic and where possible, discusses biological effects. The geographic coverage of information on contaminants such as persistent organochlorines (OCs) (PCBs, DDT- and chlordane-related compounds, hexachlorocyclohexanes, toxaphene) and heavy metals (mercury, selenium, cadmium, lead) in tissues of marine mammal and sea birds is relatively complete. All major beluga, ringed seal and polar bear stocks along with several major sea bird colonies have been sampled and analysed for OC and heavy metal contaminants. Studies on contaminants in walrus are limited to Foxe Basin and northern Québec stocks, while migratory harp seals have only been studied recently at one location. Contaminant measurements in bearded seal, harbour seal, bowhead whale and killer whale tissues from the Canadian Arctic are very limited or non-existent. Many of the temporal trend data for contaminants in Canadian Arctic biota are confounded by changes in analytical methodology, as well as by variability due to age/size, or to dietary and population shifts. Despite this, studies of OCs in ringed seal blubber at Holman Island and in sea birds at Prince Leopold Island in Lancaster Sound show declining concentrations of PCBs and DDT-related compounds from the 1970s to 1980s then a levelling off during the 1980s and early 1990s. For other OCs, such as chlordane, HCH and toxaphene, limited data for the 1980s to early 1990s suggests few significant declines in concentrations in marine mammals or sea birds. Temporal trend studies of heavy metals in ringed seals and beluga found higher mean concentrations of mercury in more recent (1993/1994) samples than in earlier collections (1981-1984 in eastern Arctic, 1972-1973 in western Arctic

  16. Ecosystem Metabolism and Air-Water Fluxes of Greenhouse Gases in High Arctic Wetland Ponds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehnherr, I.; Venkiteswaran, J.; St. Louis, V. L.; Emmerton, C.; Schiff, S. L.

    2012-12-01

    Freshwater lakes and wetlands can be very productive systems on the Arctic landscape compared to terrestrial tundra ecosystems and provide valuable resources to many organisms, including waterfowl, fish and humans. Rates of ecosystem productivity dictate how much energy flows through food webs, impacting the abundance of higher-level organisms (e.g., fish), as well as the net carbon balance, which determines whether a particular ecosystem is a source or sink of carbon. Climate change is predicted to result in warmer temperatures, increased precipitation and permafrost melting in the Arctic and is already altering northern ecosystems at unprecedented rates; however, it is not known how freshwater systems are responding to these changes. To predict how freshwater systems will respond to complex environmental changes, it is necessary to understand the key processes, such as primary production and ecosystem respiration, that are driving these systems. We sampled wetland ponds (n=8) and lakes (n=2) on northern Ellesmere Island (81° N, Nunavut, Canada) during the open water season for a suite of biogeochemical parameters, including concentrations of dissolved gases (O2, CO2, CH4, N2O) as well as stable-isotope ratios of dissolved inorganic carbon (δ13C-DIC), dissolved oxygen (δ18O-DO), and water (δ18O-H2O). We will present rates of primary production and ecosystem respiration, modeled from the concentration and stable isotope ratios of DIC and DO, as well as air-water gas exchange of greenhouse gases in these high Arctic ponds and lakes. Preliminary results demonstrate that ecosystem metabolism in these ponds was high enough to result in significant deviations in the isotope ratios of DIC and DO from atmospheric equilibrium conditions. In other words ecosystem rates of primary production and respiration were faster than gas exchange even in these small, shallow, well-mixed ponds. Furthermore, primary production was elevated enough at all sites except Lake Hazen, a

  17. How is climate warming altering the carbon cycle of a tundra ecosystem in the Siberian Arctic?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belelli Marchesini, Luca; (Ko) van Huissteden, Jacobus; van der Molen, Michiel; Parmentier, Frans-Jan W.; Maximov, Trofim; Budishchev, Artem; Gallagher, Angela; (Han) Dolman, Albertus J.

    2015-04-01

    Climate has been warming over the the Arctic region with the strongest anomalies taking place in autumn and winter for the period 2000-2010, particularly in northern Eurasia. The quantification of the impact on climate warming on the degradation of permafrost and the associated potential release to the atmosphere of carbon stocked in the soil under the form of greenhouse gases, thus further increasing the radiative forcing of the atmosphere, is currently a matter of scientific debate. The positive trend in primary productivity in the last decades inferred by vegetation indexes (NDVI) and confirmed by observations on the enhanced growth of shrub vegetation represents indeed a contrasting process that, if prevalent could offset GHG emissions or even strengthen the carbon sink over the Arctic tundra. At the site of Kytalyk, in north-eastern Siberia, net fluxes of CO2 at ecosystem scale (NEE) have been monitored by eddy covariance technique since 2003. While presenting the results of the seasonal (snow free period) and inter-annual variability of NEE, conceived as the interplay between meteorological drivers and ecosystem responses, we test the role of climate as the main source of NEE variability in the last decade using a data oriented statistical approach. The impact of the timing and duration of the snow free period on the seasonal carbon budget is also considered. Finally, by including the results of continuous micrometeorological observations of methane fluxes taken during summer 2012, corroborated with seasonal CH4 budgets from two previous shorter campaigns (2008, 2009), as well as an experimentally determined estimate of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) flux, we provide an assessment of the carbon budget and its stability over time. The examined tundra ecosystem was found to sequester CO2 during the snow free season with relatively small inter-annual variability (-97.9±12.1gC m-2) during the last decade and without any evident trend despite the carbon uptake

  18. High Diversity of Planctomycetes in Soils of Two Lichen-Dominated Sub-Arctic Ecosystems of Northwestern Siberia.

    PubMed

    Ivanova, Anastasia A; Kulichevskaya, Irina S; Merkel, Alexander Y; Toshchakov, Stepan V; Dedysh, Svetlana N

    2016-01-01

    A wide variety of terrestrial ecosystems in tundra have a ground vegetation cover composed of reindeer lichens (genera Cladonia and Cetraria). The microbial communities of two lichen-dominated ecosystems typical of the sub-arctic zone of northwestern Siberia, that is a forested tundra soil and a shallow acidic peatland, were examined in our study. As revealed by molecular analyses, soil and peat layers just beneath the lichen cover were abundantly colonized by bacteria from the phylum Planctomycetes. Highest abundance of planctomycetes detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization was in the range 2.2-2.7 × 10(7) cells per gram of wet weight. 16S rRNA gene fragments from the Planctomycetes comprised 8-13% of total 16S rRNA gene reads retrieved using Illumina pair-end sequencing from the soil and peat samples. Lichen-associated assemblages of planctomycetes displayed unexpectedly high diversity, with a total of 89,662 reads representing 1723 operational taxonomic units determined at 97% sequence identity. The soil of forested tundra was dominated by uncultivated members of the family Planctomycetaceae (53-71% of total Planctomycetes-like reads), while sequences affiliated with the Phycisphaera-related group WD2101 (recently assigned to the order Tepidisphaerales) were most abundant in peat (28-51% of total reads). Representatives of the Isosphaera-Singulisphaera group (14-28% of total reads) and the lineages defined by the genera Gemmata (1-4%) and Planctopirus-Rubinisphaera (1-3%) were present in both habitats. Two strains of Singulisphaera-like bacteria were isolated from studied soil and peat samples. These planctomycetes displayed good tolerance of low temperatures (4-15°C) and were capable of growth on a number of polysaccharides, including lichenan, a characteristic component of lichen-derived phytomass.

  19. High Diversity of Planctomycetes in Soils of Two Lichen-Dominated Sub-Arctic Ecosystems of Northwestern Siberia

    PubMed Central

    Ivanova, Anastasia A.; Kulichevskaya, Irina S.; Merkel, Alexander Y.; Toshchakov, Stepan V.; Dedysh, Svetlana N.

    2016-01-01

    A wide variety of terrestrial ecosystems in tundra have a ground vegetation cover composed of reindeer lichens (genera Cladonia and Cetraria). The microbial communities of two lichen-dominated ecosystems typical of the sub-arctic zone of northwestern Siberia, that is a forested tundra soil and a shallow acidic peatland, were examined in our study. As revealed by molecular analyses, soil and peat layers just beneath the lichen cover were abundantly colonized by bacteria from the phylum Planctomycetes. Highest abundance of planctomycetes detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization was in the range 2.2–2.7 × 107 cells per gram of wet weight. 16S rRNA gene fragments from the Planctomycetes comprised 8–13% of total 16S rRNA gene reads retrieved using Illumina pair-end sequencing from the soil and peat samples. Lichen-associated assemblages of planctomycetes displayed unexpectedly high diversity, with a total of 89,662 reads representing 1723 operational taxonomic units determined at 97% sequence identity. The soil of forested tundra was dominated by uncultivated members of the family Planctomycetaceae (53–71% of total Planctomycetes-like reads), while sequences affiliated with the Phycisphaera-related group WD2101 (recently assigned to the order Tepidisphaerales) were most abundant in peat (28–51% of total reads). Representatives of the Isosphaera–Singulisphaera group (14–28% of total reads) and the lineages defined by the genera Gemmata (1–4%) and Planctopirus–Rubinisphaera (1–3%) were present in both habitats. Two strains of Singulisphaera-like bacteria were isolated from studied soil and peat samples. These planctomycetes displayed good tolerance of low temperatures (4–15°C) and were capable of growth on a number of polysaccharides, including lichenan, a characteristic component of lichen-derived phytomass. PMID:28066382

  20. Unanticipated Geochemical and Microbial Community Structure under Seasonal Ice Cover in a Dilute, Dimictic Arctic Lake.

    PubMed

    Schütte, Ursel M E; Cadieux, Sarah B; Hemmerich, Chris; Pratt, Lisa M; White, Jeffrey R

    2016-01-01

    Despite most lakes in the Arctic being perennially or seasonally frozen for at least 40% of the year, little is known about microbial communities and nutrient cycling under ice cover. We assessed the vertical microbial community distribution and geochemical composition in early spring under ice in a seasonally ice-covered lake in southwest Greenland using amplicon-based sequencing that targeted 16S rRNA genes and using a combination of field and laboratory aqueous geochemical methods. Microbial communities changed consistently with changes in geochemistry. Composition of the abundant members responded strongly to redox conditions, shifting downward from a predominantly heterotrophic aerobic community in the suboxic waters to a heterotrophic anaerobic community in the anoxic waters. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of Sporichthyaceae, Comamonadaceae, and the SAR11 Clade had higher relative abundances above the oxycline and OTUs within the genus Methylobacter, the phylum Lentisphaerae, and purple sulfur bacteria (PSB) below the oxycline. Notably, a 13-fold increase in sulfide at the oxycline was reflected in an increase and change in community composition of potential sulfur oxidizers. Purple non-sulfur bacteria were present above the oxycline and green sulfur bacteria and PSB coexisted below the oxycline, however, PSB were most abundant. For the first time we show the importance of PSB as potential sulfur oxidizers in an Arctic dimictic lake.

  1. Unanticipated Geochemical and Microbial Community Structure under Seasonal Ice Cover in a Dilute, Dimictic Arctic Lake

    PubMed Central

    Schütte, Ursel M. E.; Cadieux, Sarah B.; Hemmerich, Chris; Pratt, Lisa M.; White, Jeffrey R.

    2016-01-01

    Despite most lakes in the Arctic being perennially or seasonally frozen for at least 40% of the year, little is known about microbial communities and nutrient cycling under ice cover. We assessed the vertical microbial community distribution and geochemical composition in early spring under ice in a seasonally ice-covered lake in southwest Greenland using amplicon-based sequencing that targeted 16S rRNA genes and using a combination of field and laboratory aqueous geochemical methods. Microbial communities changed consistently with changes in geochemistry. Composition of the abundant members responded strongly to redox conditions, shifting downward from a predominantly heterotrophic aerobic community in the suboxic waters to a heterotrophic anaerobic community in the anoxic waters. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of Sporichthyaceae, Comamonadaceae, and the SAR11 Clade had higher relative abundances above the oxycline and OTUs within the genus Methylobacter, the phylum Lentisphaerae, and purple sulfur bacteria (PSB) below the oxycline. Notably, a 13-fold increase in sulfide at the oxycline was reflected in an increase and change in community composition of potential sulfur oxidizers. Purple non-sulfur bacteria were present above the oxycline and green sulfur bacteria and PSB coexisted below the oxycline, however, PSB were most abundant. For the first time we show the importance of PSB as potential sulfur oxidizers in an Arctic dimictic lake. PMID:27458438

  2. The resilience and functional role of moss in boreal and arctic ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Turetsky, Merritt; Bond-Lamberty, Benjamin; Euskirchen, Eugenie S.; Talbot, Julie; Frolking, Steve; McGuire, A. David; Tuittila, Eeva-Stiina

    2012-08-24

    Mosses in boreal and arctic ecosystems are ubiquitous components of plant communities, represent an important component of plant diversity, and strongly influence the cycling of water, nutrients, energy and carbon. Here we use a literature review and synthesis as well as model simulations to explore the role of moss in ecological stability and resilience. Our literature review of moss community responses to disturbance showed all possible responses (increases, decreases, no change) within most disturbance categories in boreal and arctic regions. Our modeling simulations suggest that loss of moss within northern plant communities will reduce soil carbon accumulation primarily by influencing decomposition rates and soil nitrogen availability. While two models (HPM and STM-TEM) showed a significant effect of moss removal, results from the Biome-BGC and DVM-TEM models suggest that northern, moss-rich ecosystems would need to experience extreme perturbation before mosses were eliminated. We highlight a number of issues that have not been adequately explored in moss communities, such as functional redundancy and singularity, relationships between response and effect traits, phenotypical plasticity in traits, and whether the effects of moss on ecosystem processes scale with local abundance. We also suggest that as more models explore issues related to ecological resilience, issues related to both parameter and conceptual uncertainty should be addressed: are the models more limited by uncertainty in the parameterization of the processes included or by what is not represented in the model at all? It seems clear from our review that mosses need to be incorporated into models as one or more plant functional types, but more empirical work is needed to determine how to best aggregate species.

  3. Shifts of microbial communities of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivation in a closed artificial ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Qin, Youcai; Fu, Yuming; Dong, Chen; Jia, Nannan; Liu, Hong

    2016-05-01

    The microbial communities of plant ecosystems are in relation to plant growing environment, but the alteration in biodiversity of rhizosphere and phyllosphere microbial communities in closed and controlled environments is unknown. The purpose of this study is to analyze the change regularity of microbial communities with wheat plants dependent-cultivated in a closed artificial ecosystem. The microbial community structures in closed-environment treatment plants were investigated by a culture-dependent approach, polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE), and Illumina Miseq high-throughput sequencing. The results indicated that the number of microbes decreased along with time, and the magnitude of bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes were 10(7)-10(8), 10(5), and 10(3)-10(4) CFU/g (dry weight), respectively. The analysis of PCR-DGGE and Illumina Miseq revealed that the wheat leaf surface and near-root substrate had different microbial communities at different periods of wheat ecosystem development and showed that the relative highest diversity of microbial communities appeared at late and middle periods of the plant ecosystem, respectively. The results also indicated that the wheat leaf and substrate had different microbial community compositions, and the wheat substrate had higher richness of microbial community than the leaf. Flavobacterium, Pseudomonas, Paenibacillus, Enterobacter, Penicillium, Rhodotorula, Acremonium, and Alternaria were dominant in the wheat leaf samples, and Pedobacter, Flavobacterium, Halomonas, Marinobacter, Salinimicrobium, Lysobacter, Pseudomonas, Halobacillus, Xanthomonas, Acremonium, Monographella, and Penicillium were dominant populations in the wheat near-root substrate samples.

  4. Comparison of Seasonal Soil Microbial Process in Snow-Covered Temperate Ecosystems of Northern China

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xinyue; Wang, Wei; Chen, Weile; Zhang, Naili; Zeng, Hui

    2014-01-01

    More than half of the earth's terrestrial surface currently experiences seasonal snow cover and soil frost. Winter compositional and functional investigations in soil microbial community are frequently conducted in alpine tundra and boreal forest ecosystems. However, little information on winter microbial biogeochemistry is known from seasonally snow-covered temperate ecosystems. As decomposer microbes may differ in their ability/strategy to efficiently use soil organic carbon (SOC) within different phases of the year, understanding seasonal microbial process will increase our knowledge of biogeochemical cycling from the aspect of decomposition rates and corresponding nutrient dynamics. In this study, we measured soil microbial biomass, community composition and potential SOC mineralization rates in winter and summer, from six temperate ecosystems in northern China. Our results showed a clear pattern of increased microbial biomass C to nitrogen (N) ratio in most winter soils. Concurrently, a shift in soil microbial community composition occurred with higher fungal to bacterial biomass ratio and gram negative (G-) to gram positive (G+) bacterial biomass ratio in winter than in summer. Furthermore, potential SOC mineralization rate was higher in winter than in summer. Our study demonstrated a distinct transition of microbial community structure and function from winter to summer in temperate snow-covered ecosystems. Microbial N immobilization in winter may not be the major contributor for plant growth in the following spring. PMID:24667929

  5. Comparison of seasonal soil microbial process in snow-covered temperate ecosystems of northern China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xinyue; Wang, Wei; Chen, Weile; Zhang, Naili; Zeng, Hui

    2014-01-01

    More than half of the earth's terrestrial surface currently experiences seasonal snow cover and soil frost. Winter compositional and functional investigations in soil microbial community are frequently conducted in alpine tundra and boreal forest ecosystems. However, little information on winter microbial biogeochemistry is known from seasonally snow-covered temperate ecosystems. As decomposer microbes may differ in their ability/strategy to efficiently use soil organic carbon (SOC) within different phases of the year, understanding seasonal microbial process will increase our knowledge of biogeochemical cycling from the aspect of decomposition rates and corresponding nutrient dynamics. In this study, we measured soil microbial biomass, community composition and potential SOC mineralization rates in winter and summer, from six temperate ecosystems in northern China. Our results showed a clear pattern of increased microbial biomass C to nitrogen (N) ratio in most winter soils. Concurrently, a shift in soil microbial community composition occurred with higher fungal to bacterial biomass ratio and gram negative (G-) to gram positive (G+) bacterial biomass ratio in winter than in summer. Furthermore, potential SOC mineralization rate was higher in winter than in summer. Our study demonstrated a distinct transition of microbial community structure and function from winter to summer in temperate snow-covered ecosystems. Microbial N immobilization in winter may not be the major contributor for plant growth in the following spring.

  6. Biogeochemistry of hypersaline microbial mats illustrates the dynamics of modern microbial ecosystems and the early evolution of the biosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Des Marais, David J.

    2003-01-01

    Photosynthetic microbial mats are remarkably complete self-sustaining ecosystems at the millimeter scale, yet they have substantially affected environmental processes on a planetary scale. These mats may be direct descendents of the most ancient biological communities in which even oxygenic photosynthesis might have developed. Photosynthetic mats are excellent natural laboratories to help us to learn how microbial populations associate to control dynamic biogeochemical gradients.

  7. Alaskan Arctic Soils: Relationship between Microbial Carbon Usage and Soil Composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, H.; Ziolkowski, L. A.

    2015-12-01

    Carbon stored in Arctic permafrost carbon is sensitive to climate change. Microbes are known to degrade Arctic soil organic carbon (OC) and potentially release vast quantitates of CO2 and CH4. Previously, it has been shown that warming of Arctic soils leads to microbes respiring older carbon. To examine this process, we studied the microbial carbon usage and its relationship to the soil OC composition in active layer soils at five locations along a latitudinal transect on the North Slope of Alaska using the compound specific radiocarbon signatures of the viable microbial community using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA). Additional geochemical parameters (C/N, 13C, 15N and 14C) of bulk soils were measured. Overall there was a greater change with depth than location. Organic rich surface soils are rich in vegetation and have high PLFA based cell densities, while deeper in the active layer geochemical parameters indicated soil OC was degraded and cell densities decreased. As expected, PLFA indicative of Fungi and Protozoa species dominated in surface soils, methyl-branched PLFAs, indicative of bacterial origin, increased in deeper in the active layer. A group of previously unreported PLFAs, believed to correlate to anaerobic microbes, increased at the transition between the surface and deep microbial communities. Cluster analysis based on individual PLFAs of samples confirmed compositional differences as a function of depth dominated with no site to site differences. Radiocarbon data of soil OC and PLFA show the preferential consumption of younger soil OC by microbes at all sites and older OC being eaten in deep soils. However, in deeper soil, where the C/N ratio suggests lower bioavailability, less soil OC was incorporated into the microbes as indicating by greater differences between bulk and PLFA radiocarbon ages.

  8. Microbial methane consumption in the oligotrophic surface waters of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joye, S. B.

    2011-12-01

    The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) accounts for ten percent of the world ocean shelf area and is the shallowest shelf (average depth < 50m). This area is home to a tremendous stock of hydrocarbons, mostly as methane associated with shallow, permafrost-associated hydrates. Thus, the ESAS represents an enormous potential atmospheric methane source that could result from global warming-triggered permafrost destabilization; such a massive methane infusion to the atmosphere from the Arctic could exacerbate and/or accelerate global warming. Increased methane fluxes could occur as numerous weak seeps or strong bubble plumes over large areas. Due to the shallow, well-mixed nature of the ESAS and its oligotrophic waters, the majority of methane entering ESAS water may avoids microbial oxidation and escape to the atmosphere. As part of an international research effort that aims to describe the patterns and controls methane dynamics within the ESAS, we documented methane concentrations and methane oxidation rates and examined environmental and microbiological factors that could regulate methane oxidation activity. Methane concentrations varied spatially and temporally and surface water concentrations were substantially super-saturated at most sites. The highest methane concentrations observed were hundreds of nanomolar. Despite the relatively methane concentrations, methane oxidation rates, determined with tritium-labeled methane tracer, were low, ranging from 10's of picomoles per liter per day to 3 nanomoles per liter per day. By and large, the turnover time for the methane pool was hundreds to thousands of days, which means that methane would be vented to the atmosphere before it was microbially oxidized. The exception to this pattern was in fresh water near the mouth of a river, where methane oxidation rates were high such that the pool turnover time was roughly 4 days. Available data suggest that nutrient availability limits accumulation of methanotroph biomass and

  9. Ecosystem development and carbon cycle on a glacier foreland in the high Arctic, Ny-Alesund, Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Nakatsubo, Takayuki; Bekku, Yukiko Sakata; Uchida, Masaki; Muraoka, Hiroyuki; Kume, Atsushi; Ohtsuka, Toshiyuki; Masuzawa, Takehiro; Kanda, Hiroshi; Koizumi, Hiroshi

    2005-06-01

    The Arctic terrestrial ecosystem is thought to be extremely susceptible to climate change. However, because of the diverse responses of ecosystem components to change, an overall response of the ecosystem carbon cycle to climate change is still hard to predict. In this review, we focus on several recent studies conducted to clarify the pattern of the carbon cycle on the deglaciated area of Ny-Alesund, Svalbard in the high Arctic. Vegetation cover and soil carbon pools tended to increase with the progress of succession. However, even in the latter stages of succession, the size of the soil carbon pool was much smaller than those reported for the low Arctic tundra. Cryptogams contributed the major proportion of phytomass in the later stages. However, because of water limitation, their net primary production was smaller than that of the vascular plants. The compartment model that incorporated major carbon pools and flows suggested that the ecosystem of the later stages is likely to be a net sink of carbon at least for the summer season. Based on the eco-physiological characteristics of the major ecosystem components, we suggest several possible scenarios of future changes in the ecosystem carbon cycle.

  10. Allee effect: the story behind the stabilization or extinction of microbial ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Goswami, Madhurankhi; Bhattacharyya, Purnita; Tribedi, Prosun

    2017-03-01

    A population exhibiting Allee effect shows a positive correlation between population fitness and population size or density. Allee effect decides the extinction or conservation of a microbial population and thus appears to be an important criterion in population ecology. The underlying factor of Allee effect that decides the stabilization and extinction of a particular population density is the threshold or the critical density of their abundance. According to Allee, microbial populations exhibit a definite, critical or threshold density, beyond which the population fitness of a particular population increases with the rise in population density and below it, the population fitness goes down with the decrease in population density. In particular, microbial population displays advantageous traits such as biofilm formation, expression of virulence genes, spore formation and many more only at a high population density. It has also been observed that microorganisms exhibiting a lower population density undergo complete extinction from the residual microbial ecosystem. In reference to Allee effect, decrease in population density or size introduces deleterious mutations among the population density through genetic drift. Mutations are carried forward to successive generations resulting in its accumulation among the population density thus reducing its microbial fitness and thereby increasing the risk of extinction of a particular microbial population. However, when the microbial load is high, the chance of genetic drift is less, and through the process of biofilm formation, the cooperation existing among the microbial population increases that increases the microbial fitness. Thus, the high microbial population through the formation of microbial biofilm stabilizes the ecosystem by increasing fitness. Taken together, microbial fitness shows positive correlation with the ecosystem conservation and negative correlation with ecosystem extinction.

  11. Review: Potential catastrophic reduction of sea ice in the western Arctic Ocean: Its impact on biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harada, Naomi

    2016-01-01

    The reduction of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, which has progressed more rapidly than previously predicted, has the potential to cause multiple environmental stresses, including warming, acidification, and strengthened stratification of the ocean. Observational studies have been undertaken to detect the impacts on biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystems of these environmental stresses in the Arctic Ocean. Satellite analyses show that the reduction of sea ice has been especially great in the western Arctic Ocean. Observations and model simulations have both helped to clarify the impact of sea-ice reductions on the dynamics of ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycles. In this review, I focus on the western Arctic Ocean, which has experienced the most rapid retreat of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and, very importantly, has a higher rate of primary production than any other area of the Arctic Ocean owing to the supply of nutrient-rich Pacific water. I report the impact of the current reduction of sea ice on marine biogeochemical cycles in the western Arctic Ocean, including lower-trophic-level organisms, and identify the key mechanism of changes in the biogeochemical cycles, based on published observations and model simulations. The retreat of sea ice has enhanced primary production and has increased the frequency of appearance of mesoscale anticyclonic eddies. These eddies enhance the light environment and replenish nutrients, and they also represent a mechanism that can increase the rate of the biological pump in the Arctic Ocean. Various unresolved issues that require further investigation, such as biological responses to environmental stressors such as ocean acidification, are also discussed.

  12. Microbial diversity of Loki's Castle black smokers at the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge.

    PubMed

    Jaeschke, A; Jørgensen, S L; Bernasconi, S M; Pedersen, R B; Thorseth, I H; Früh-Green, G L

    2012-11-01

    Hydrothermal vent systems harbor rich microbial communities ranging from aerobic mesophiles to anaerobic hyperthermophiles. Among these, members of the archaeal domain are prevalent in microbial communities in the most extreme environments, partly because of their temperature-resistant and robust membrane lipids. In this study, we use geochemical and molecular microbiological methods to investigate the microbial diversity in black smoker chimneys from the newly discovered Loki's Castle hydrothermal vent field on the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (AMOR) with vent fluid temperatures of 310-320 °C and pH of 5.5. Archaeal glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether lipids (GDGTs) and H-shaped GDGTs with 0-4 cyclopentane moieties were dominant in all sulfide samples and are most likely derived from both (hyper)thermophilic Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeota. Crenarchaeol has been detected in low abundances in samples derived from the chimney exterior indicating the presence of Thaumarchaeota at lower ambient temperatures. Aquificales and members of the Epsilonproteobacteria were the dominant bacterial groups detected. Our observations based on the analysis of 16S rRNA genes and biomarker lipid analysis provide insight into microbial communities thriving within the porous sulfide structures of active and inactive deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Microbial cycling of sulfur, hydrogen, and methane by archaea in the chimney interior and bacteria in the chimney exterior may be the prevailing biogeochemical processes in this system.

  13. Influence of deglaciation on microbial communities in marine sediments off the coast of Svalbard, Arctic Circle.

    PubMed

    Park, Soo-Je; Park, Byoung-Joon; Jung, Man-Young; Kim, So-Jeong; Chae, Jong-Chan; Roh, Yul; Forwick, Matthias; Yoon, Ho-Il; Rhee, Sung-Keun

    2011-10-01

    Increases in global temperatures have been shown to enhance glacier melting in the Arctic region. Here, we have evaluated the effects of meltwater runoff on the microbial communities of coastal marine sediment located along a transect of Temelfjorden, in Svalbard. As close to the glacier front, the sediment properties were clearly influenced by deglaciation. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles showed that the sediment microbial communities of the stations of glacier front (stations 188-178) were distinguishable from that of outer fjord region (station 176). Canonical correspondence analysis indicated that total carbon and calcium carbonate in sediment and chlorophyll a in bottom water were key factors driving the change of microbial communities. Analysis of 16S rRNA gene clone libraries suggested that microbial diversity was higher within the glacier-proximal zone (station 188) directly affected by the runoffs than in the outer fjord region. While the crenarchaeotal group I.1a dominated at station 176 (62%), Marine Benthic Group-B and other Crenarchaeota groups were proportionally abundant. With regard to the bacterial community, alpha-Proteobacteria and Flavobacteria lineages prevailed (60%) at station 188, whereas delta-Proteobacteria (largely sulfate-reducers) predominated (32%) at station 176. Considering no clone sequences related to sulfate-reducers, station 188 may be more oxic compared to station 176. The distance-wise compositional variation in the microbial communities is attributable to their adaptations to the sediment environments which are differentially affected by melting glaciers.

  14. Annual patterns and budget of CO2 flux in an Alaskan arctic tussock tundra ecosystem at Atqasuk, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oechel, W. C.; Kalhori, A. A.; Burba, G. G.; Gioli, B.

    2013-12-01

    Arctic ecosystem functioning is not only critically affected by climate change, but also has the potential for major positive feedbacks on climate. There is however relatively little information available on the role, patterns, and vulnerabilities of CO2 fluxes during the non-summer seasons. Presented here is a year-around study of CO2 fluxes in an Alaskan Arctic tussock tundra ecosystem. Also presented are key environmental controls on CO2 fluxes as well as possible impacts of likely changes in season timing. This is aided by a new empirical quantification of seasons in the Arctic based on net radiation, which can help describe seasonal responses to greenhouse gas fluxes under climate change. The fluxes were computed using standard FluxNet methodology and corrected using standard WPL density terms, adjusted for influences of instrument surface heating. The results showed that the non-summer season comprises a significant source of carbon to the atmosphere. The summer period was a net sink of 10.83 g C m-2 yr-1, while the non-summer seasons released more than four times the CO2 uptake observed in the summer, resulting in a net annual source of 37.6 g C m-2 yr-1 to the atmosphere. This shows a change in this region of the Arctic from a long-term annual sink of CO2 from the atmosphere to an annual source of CO2 from the terrestrial ecosystem and soils to the atmosphere. The results presented here demonstrate that nearly continuous observations may be required in order to accurately calculate the annual NEE of Arctic ecosystems, and to build predictive understanding that can be used to estimate, with confidence, Arctic fluxes under future conditions. Daily CO2 fluxes over the year, average daily net radiation, average daily PAR, average daily air temperature and average daily soil respiration (at -5 cm).

  15. Mammalian herbivores confer resilience of Arctic shrub-dominated ecosystems to changing climate.

    PubMed

    Kaarlejärvi, Elina; Hoset, Katrine S; Olofsson, Johan

    2015-09-01

    Climate change is resulting in a rapid expansion of shrubs in the Arctic. This expansion has been shown to be reinforced by positive feedbacks, and it could thus set the ecosystem on a trajectory toward an alternate, more productive regime. Herbivores, on the other hand, are known to counteract the effects of simultaneous climate warming on shrub biomass. However, little is known about the impact of herbivores on resilience of these ecosystems, that is, the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and still remain in the same regime, retaining the same function, structure, and feedbacks. Here, we investigated how herbivores affect resilience of shrub-dominated systems to warming by studying the change of shrub biomass after a cessation of long-term experimental warming in a forest-tundra ecotone. As predicted, warming increased the biomass of shrubs, and in the absence of herbivores, shrub biomass in tundra continued to increase 4 years after cessation of the artificial warming, indicating that positive effects of warming on plant growth may persist even over a subsequent colder period. Herbivores contributed to the resilience of these systems by returning them back to the original low-biomass regime in both forest and tundra habitats. These results support the prediction that higher shrub biomass triggers positive feedbacks on soil processes and microclimate, which enable maintaining the rapid shrub growth even in colder climates. Furthermore, the results show that in our system, herbivores facilitate the resilience of shrub-dominated ecosystems to climate warming.

  16. Net Ecosystem Exchange of CO2 with Rapidly Changing High Arctic Landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emmerton, C. A.

    2015-12-01

    High Arctic landscapes are expansive and changing rapidly. However our understanding of their functional responses and potential to mitigate or enhance anthropogenic climate change is limited by few measurements. We collected eddy covariance measurements to quantify the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 with polar semidesert and meadow wetland landscapes at the highest-latitude location measured to date (82°N). We coupled these rare data with ground and satellite vegetation production measurements (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index; NDVI) to evaluate the effectiveness of upscaling local to regional NEE. During the growing season, the dry polar semidesert landscape was a near zero sink of atmospheric CO2 (NEE: -0.3±13.5 g C m-2). A nearby meadow wetland accumulated over two magnitudes more carbon (NEE: -79.3±20.0 g C m-2) than the polar semidesert landscape, and was similar to meadow wetland NEE at much more southern latitudes. Polar semidesert NEE was most influenced by moisture, with wetter surface soils resulting in greater soil respiration and CO2 emissions. At the meadow wetland, soil heating enhanced plant growth, which in turn increased CO2 uptake. Our upscaling assessment found that polar semidesert NDVI measured on site was low (mean: 0.120-0.157) and similar to satellite measurements (mean: 0.155-0.163). However, weak plant growth resulted in poor satellite NDVI-NEE relationships and created challenges for remotely-detecting changes in the cycling of carbon on the polar semidesert landscape. The meadow wetland appeared more suitable to assess plant production and NEE via remote-sensing, however high Arctic wetland extent is constrained by topography to small areas that may be difficult to resolve with large satellite pixels. We predict that until summer precipitation and humidity increases substantially, climate-related changes of dry high Arctic landscapes may be restricted by poor soil moisture retention, and therefore have some inertia against

  17. Non-Redfield carbon and nitrogen cycling in the Arctic: Effects of ecosystem structure and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daly, Kendra L.; Wallace, Douglas W. R.; Smith, Walker O.; Skoog, Annelie; Lara, RubéN.; Gosselin, Michel; Falck, Eva; Yager, Patricia L.

    1999-02-01

    The C:N ratio is a critical parameter used in both global ocean carbon models and field studies to understand carbon and nutrient cycling as well as to estimate exported carbon from the euphotic zone. The so-called Redfield ratio (C:N = 6.6 by atoms) [Redfield et al., 1963] is widely used for such calculations. Here we present data from the NE Greenland continental shelf that show that most of the C:N ratios for particulate (autotrophic and heterotrophic) and dissolved pools and rates of transformation among them exceed Redfield proportions from June to August, owing to species composition, size, and biological interactions. The ecosystem components that likely comprised sinking particles and had relatively high C:N ratios (geometric means) included (1) the particulate organic matter (C:N = 8.9) dominated by nutrient-deficient diatoms, resulting from low initial nitrate concentrations (approximately 4 μM) in Arctic surface waters; (2) the dominant zooplankton, herbivorous copepods (C:N = 9.6), having lipid storage typical of Arctic copepods; and (3) copepod fecal pellets (C:N = 33.2). Relatively high dissolved organic carbon concentrations (median 105 μM) were approximately 25 to 45 μM higher than reported for other systems and may be broadly characteristic of Arctic waters. A carbon-rich dissolved organic carbon pool also was generated during summer. Since the magnitude of carbon and nitrogen uncoupling in the surface mixed layer appeared to be greater than in other regions and occurred throughout the productive season, the C:N ratio of particulate organic matter may be a better conversion factor than the Redfield ratio to estimate carbon export for broad application in northern high-latitude systems.

  18. Inorganic species distribution and microbial diversity within high Arctic cryptoendolithic habitats.

    PubMed

    Omelon, Christopher R; Pollard, Wayne H; Ferris, F Grant

    2007-11-01

    Cryptoendolithic habitats in the Canadian high Arctic are associated with a variety of microbial community assemblages, including cyanobacteria, algae, and fungi. These habitats were analyzed for the presence of metal ions by sequential extraction and evaluated for relationships between these and the various microorganisms found at each site using multivariate statistical methods. Cyanobacteria-dominated communities exist under higher pH conditions with elevated concentrations of calcium and magnesium, whereas communities dominated by fungi and algae are characterized by lower pH conditions and higher concentrations of iron, aluminum, and silicon in the overlying surfaces. These results suggest that the activity of the dominant microorganisms controls the pH of the surrounding environment, which in turn dictates rates of weathering or the possibility for surface crust formation, both ultimately deciding the structure of microbial diversity for each cryptoendolithic habitat.

  19. Microbial biomass dynamics dominate N cycle responses to warming in a sub-arctic peatland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weedon, J. T.; Aerts, R.; Kowalchuk, G. K.; van Bodegom, P. M.

    2012-04-01

    The balance of primary production and decomposition in sub-arctic peatlands may shift with climate change. Nitrogen availability will modulate this shift, but little is known about the drivers of soil nitrogen dynamics in these environments, and how they are influenced by rising soil temperatures. We used a long-term open top chamber warming experiment in Abisko, Sweden, to test for the interactive effects of spring warming, summer warming and winter snow addition on soil organic and inorganic nitrogen fluxes, potential activities of carbon and nitrogen cycle enzymes, and the structure of the soil-borne microbial communities. Summer warming increased the flux of soil organic nitrogen over the growing season, while simultaneously causing a seasonal decrease in microbial biomass, suggesting that N flux is driven by large late-season dieback of microbes. This change in N cycle dynamics was not reflected in any of the measured potential enzyme activities. Moreover, the soil microbial community structure was stable across treatments, suggesting non-specific microbial dieback. To further test whether the observed patterns were driven by direct temperature effects or indirect effects (via microbial biomass dynamics), we conducted follow-up controlled experiments in soil mesocosms. Experimental additions of dead microbial cells had stronger effects on N pool sizes and enzyme activities than either plant litter addition or a 5 °C alteration in incubation temperatures. Peat respiration was positively affected by both substrate addition and higher incubation temperatures, but the temperature-only effect was not sufficient to account for the increases in respiration observed in previous field experiments. We conclude that warming effects on peatland N cycling (and to some extent C cycling) are dominated by indirect effects, acting through alterations to the seasonal flux of microbe-derived organic matter. We propose that climate change models of soil carbon and nitrogen

  20. Hydrological and geochemical response and recovery in disturbed Arctic ecosystems. Progress report

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-07-01

    This progress report is a funding, extension request to continue the database work for the Hydrological and Geochemical Response and Recovery in Disturbed Arctic Ecosystems Program. Throughout the period from 1985 to 1992 the Department of Energy supported research on the hydrology and geochemistry of the headwater basin of Imnavait Creek has focused on the quantification of the input from atmospheric sources of biologically significant and other related chemical variables; the transport of these variables in surface and subsurface flow and their efflux from the basin; and the development of geochemical budgets. The acquisition of multi-year data sets (the longest and most detailed sets in the Arctic) have made it possible to define seasonal ranges and amplitudes; determine spatial and temporal relationships within the different flow compartments; to begin to model the pathways and rates of movement through and across different landscape units. The length of record has also made it possible to examine the quantity and influence of local and extra-regional additions.

  1. Remote sensing of vegetation and land-cover change in Arctic tundra ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Checkstow, D.A.; Hope, A.; McGuire, D.; Verbyla, D.; Gamon, J.; Huemmrich, F.; Houston, S.; Racine, C.; Sturm, M.; Tape, K.; Hinzman, L.; Yoshikawa, K.; Tweedie, C.

    2004-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to review research conducted over the past decade on the application of multi-temporal remote sensing for monitoring changes of Arctic tundra lands. Emphasis is placed on results from the National Science Foundation Land-Air-Ice Interactions (LAII) program and on optical remote sensing techniques. Case studies demonstrate that ground-level sensors on stationary or moving track platforms and wide-swath imaging sensors on polar orbiting satellites are particularly useful for capturing optical remote sensing data at sufficient frequency to study tundra vegetation dynamics and changes for the cloud prone Arctic. Less frequent imaging with high spatial resolution instruments on aircraft and lower orbiting satellites enable more detailed analyses of land cover change and calibration/validation of coarser resolution observations. The strongest signals of ecosystem change detected thus far appear to correspond to expansion of tundra shrubs and changes in the amount and extent of thaw lakes and ponds. Changes in shrub cover and extent have been documented by modern repeat imaging that matches archived historical aerial photography. NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) time series provide a 20-year record for determining changes in greenness that relates to photosynthetic activity, net primary production, and growing season length. The strong contrast between land materials and surface waters enables changes in lake and pond extent to be readily measured and monitored.

  2. Remote sensing of vegetation and land-cover change in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stow, D.A.; Hope, A.; McGuire, D.; Verbyla, D.; Gamon, J.; Huemmrich, F.; Houston, S.; Racine, C.; Sturm, M.; Tape, K.; Hinzman, L.; Yoshikawa, K.; Tweedie, C.; Noyle, B.; Silapaswan, C.; Douglas, D.; Griffith, B.; Jia, G.; Epstein, H.; Walker, D.; Daeschner, S.; Petersen, A.; Zhou, L.; Myneni, R.

    2004-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to review research conducted over the past decade on the application of multi-temporal remote sensing for monitoring changes of Arctic tundra lands. Emphasis is placed on results from the National Science Foundation Land-Air-Ice Interactions (LAII) program and on optical remote sensing techniques. Case studies demonstrate that ground-level sensors on stationary or moving track platforms and wide-swath imaging sensors on polar orbiting satellites are particularly useful for capturing optical remote sensing data at sufficient frequency to study tundra vegetation dynamics and changes for the cloud prone Arctic. Less frequent imaging with high spatial resolution instruments on aircraft and lower orbiting satellites enable more detailed analyses of land cover change and calibration/validation of coarser resolution observations. The strongest signals of ecosystem change detected thus far appear to correspond to expansion of tundra shrubs and changes in the amount and extent of thaw lakes and ponds. Changes in shrub cover and extent have been documented by modern repeat imaging that matches archived historical aerial photography. NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) time series provide a 20-year record for determining changes in greenness that relates to photosynthetic activity, net primary production, and growing season length. The strong contrast between land materials and surface waters enables changes in lake and pond extent to be readily measured and monitored. ?? 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Microbial community diversity in seafloor basalt from the Arctic spreading ridges.

    PubMed

    Lysnes, Kristine; Thorseth, Ingunn H; Steinsbu, Bjørn Olav; Øvreås, Lise; Torsvik, Terje; Pedersen, Rolf B

    2004-11-01

    Microbial communities inhabiting recent (< or =1 million years old; Ma) seafloor basalts from the Arctic spreading ridges were analyzed using traditional enrichment culturing methods in combination with culture-independent molecular phylogenetic techniques. Fragments of 16S rDNA were amplified from the basalt samples by polymerase chain reaction, and fingerprints of the bacterial and archaeal communities were generated using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. This analysis indicates a substantial degree of complexity in the samples studied, showing 20-40 dominating bands per profile for the bacterial assemblages. For the archaeal assemblages, a much lower number of bands (6-12) were detected. The phylogenetic affiliations of the predominant electrophoretic bands were inferred by performing a comparative 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Sequences obtained from basalts affiliated with eight main phylogenetic groups of Bacteria, but were limited to only one group of the Archaea. The most frequently retrieved bacterial sequences affiliated with the gamma-proteobacteria, alpha-proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, and Actinobacteria. The archaeal sequences were restricted to the marine Group 1: Crenarchaeota. Our results indicate that the basalt harbors a distinctive microbial community, as the majority of the sequences differed from those retrieved from the surrounding seawater as well as from sequences previously reported from seawater and deep-sea sediments. Most of the sequences did not match precisely any sequences in the database, indicating that the indigenous Arctic ridge basalt microbial community is yet uncharacterized. Results from enrichment cultures showed that autolithotrophic methanogens and iron reducing bacteria were present in the seafloor basalts. We suggest that microbial catalyzed cycling of iron may be important in low-temperature alteration of ocean crust basalt. The phylogenetic and physiological diversity of the seafloor basalt

  4. Are Hotspots Always Hotspots? The Relationship between Diversity, Resource and Ecosystem Functions in the Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Link, Heike; Piepenburg, Dieter; Archambault, Philippe

    2013-01-01

    The diversity-ecosystem function relationship is an important topic in ecology but has not received much attention in Arctic environments, and has rarely been tested for its stability in time. We studied the temporal variability of benthic ecosystem functioning at hotspots (sites with high benthic boundary fluxes) and coldspots (sites with lower fluxes) across two years in the Canadian Arctic. Benthic remineralisation function was measured as fluxes of oxygen, silicic acid, phosphate, nitrate and nitrite at the sediment-water interface. In addition we determined sediment pigment concentration and taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity. To separate temporal from spatial variability, we sampled the same nine sites from the Mackenzie Shelf to Baffin Bay during the same season (summer or fall) in 2008 and 2009. We observed that temporal variability of benthic remineralisation function at hotspots is higher than at coldspots and that taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity did not change significantly between years. Temporal variability of food availability (i.e., sediment surface pigment concentration) seemed higher at coldspot than at hotspot areas. Sediment chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentration, taxonomic richness, total abundance, water depth and abundance of the largest gallery-burrowing polychaete Lumbrineristetraura together explained 42% of the total variation in fluxes. Food supply proxies (i.e., sediment Chl a and depth) split hot- from coldspot stations and explained variation on the axis of temporal variability, and macrofaunal community parameters explained variation mostly along the axis separating eastern from western sites with hot- or coldspot regimes. We conclude that variability in benthic remineralisation function, food supply and diversity will react to climate change on different time scales, and that their interactive effects may hide the detection of progressive change, particularly at hotspots. Time-series of benthic functions and

  5. Climate change and Arctic ecosystems: 2. Modeling, paleodata-model comparisons, and future projections

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kaplan, J.O.; Bigelow, N.H.; Prentice, I.C.; Harrison, S.P.; Bartlein, P.J.; Christensen, T.R.; Cramer, W.; Matveyeva, N.V.; McGuire, A.D.; Murray, D.F.; Razzhivin, V.Y.; Smith, B.; Walker, D.A.; Anderson, P.M.; Andreev, A.A.; Brubaker, L.B.; Edwards, M.E.; Lozhkin, A.V.

    2003-01-01

    Large variations in the composition, structure, and function of Arctic ecosystems are determined by climatic gradients, especially of growing-season warmth, soil moisture, and snow cover. A unified circumpolar classification recognizing five types of tundra was developed. The geographic distributions of vegetation types north of 55??N, including the position of the forest limit and the distributions of the tundra types, could be predicted from climatology using a small set of plant functional types embedded in the biogeochemistry-biogeography model BIOME4. Several palaeoclimate simulations for the last glacial maximum (LGM) and mid-Holocene were used to explore the possibility of simulating past vegetation patterns, which are independently known based on pollen data. The broad outlines of observed changes in vegetation were captured. LGM simulations showed the major reduction of forest, the great extension of graminoid and forb tundra, and the restriction of low- and high-shrub tundra (although not all models produced sufficiently dry conditions to mimic the full observed change). Mid-Holocene simulations reproduced the contrast between northward forest extension in western and central Siberia and stability of the forest limit in Beringia. Projection of the effect of a continued exponential increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, based on a transient ocean-atmosphere simulation including sulfate aerosol effects, suggests a potential for larger changes in Arctic ecosystems during the 21st century than have occurred between mid-Holocene and present. Simulated physiological effects of the CO2 increase (to > 700 ppm) at high latitudes were slight compared with the effects of the change in climate.

  6. Global change and ecosystem connectivity: How geese link fields of central Europe to eutrophication of Arctic freshwaters.

    PubMed

    Hessen, Dag O; Tombre, Ingunn M; van Geest, Gerben; Alfsnes, Kristian

    2017-02-01

    Migratory connectivity by birds may mutually affect different ecosystems over large distances. Populations of geese overwintering in southern areas while breeding in high-latitude ecosystems have increased strongly over the past decades. The increase is likely due to positive feedbacks caused by climate change at both wintering, stopover sites and breeding grounds, land-use practices at the overwintering grounds and protection from hunting. Here we show how increasing goose populations in temperate regions, and increased breeding success in the Arctic, entail a positive feedback with strong impacts on Arctic freshwater ecosystems in the form of eutrophication. This may again strongly affect community composition and productivity of the ponds, due to increased nutrient loadings or birds serving as vectors for new species.

  7. Disentangling trophic relationships in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem through food web modeling.

    PubMed

    Legagneux, P; Gauthier, G; Berteaux, D; Bêty, J; Cadieux, M C; Bilodeau, F; Bolduc, E; McKinnon, L; Tarroux, A; Therrien, J F; Morissette, L; Krebs, C J

    2012-07-01

    Determining the manner in which food webs will respond to environmental changes is difficult because the relative importance of top-down vs. bottom-up forces in controlling ecosystems is still debated. This is especially true in the Arctic tundra where, despite relatively simple food webs, it is still unclear which forces dominate in this ecosystem. Our primary goal was to assess the extent to which a tundra food web was dominated by plant-herbivore or predator-prey interactions. Based on a 17-year (1993-2009) study of terrestrial wildlife on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, we developed trophic mass balance models to address this question. Snow Geese were the dominant herbivores in this ecosystem, followed by two sympatric lemming species (brown and collared lemmings). Arctic foxes, weasels, and several species of birds of prey were the dominant predators. Results of our trophic models encompassing 19 functional groups showed that <10% of the annual primary production was consumed by herbivores in most years despite the presence of a large Snow Goose colony, but that 20-100% of the annual herbivore production was consumed by predators. The impact of herbivores on vegetation has also weakened over time, probably due to an increase in primary production. The impact of predators was highest on lemmings, intermediate on passerines, and lowest on geese and shorebirds, but it varied with lemming abundance. Predation of collared lemmings exceeded production in most years and may explain why this species remained at low density. In contrast, the predation rate on brown lemmings varied with prey density and may have contributed to the high-amplitude, periodic fluctuations in the abundance of this species. Our analysis provided little evidence that herbivores are limited by primary production on Bylot Island. In contrast, we measured strong predator-prey interactions, which supports the hypothesis that this food web is primarily controlled by top-down forces. The presence of

  8. Chamber and Diffusive Based Carbon Flux Measurements in an Alaskan Arctic Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilkman, E.; Oechel, W. C.; Zona, D.

    2013-12-01

    Eric Wilkman, Walter Oechel, Donatella Zona Comprising an area of more than 7 x 106 km2 and containing over 11% of the world's organic matter pool, Arctic terrestrial ecosystems are vitally important components of the global carbon cycle, yet their structure and functioning are sensitive to subtle changes in climate and many of these functional changes can have large effects on the atmosphere and future climate regimes (Callaghan & Maxwell 1995, Chapin et al. 2002). Historically these northern ecosystems have acted as strong C sinks, sequestering large stores of atmospheric C due to photosynthetic dominance in the short summer season and low rates of decomposition throughout the rest of the year as a consequence of cold, nutrient poor, and generally water-logged conditions. Currently, much of this previously stored carbon is at risk of loss to the atmosphere due to accelerated soil organic matter decomposition in warmer future climates (Grogan & Chapin 2000). Although there have been numerous studies on Arctic carbon dynamics, much of the previous soil flux work has been done at limited time intervals, due to both the harshness of the environment and labor and time constraints. Therefore, in June of 2013 an Ultraportable Greenhouse Gas Analyzer (UGGA - Los Gatos Research Inc.) was deployed in concert with the LI-8100A Automated Soil Flux System (LI-COR Biosciences) in Barrow, AK to gather high temporal frequency soil CO2 and CH4 fluxes from a wet sedge tundra ecosystem. An additional UGGA in combination with diffusive probes, installed in the same location, provides year-round soil and snow CO2 and CH4 concentrations. When used in combination with the recently purchased AlphaGUARD portable radon monitor (Saphymo GmbH), continuous soil and snow diffusivities and fluxes of CO2 and CH4 can be calculated (Lehmann & Lehmann 2000). Of particular note, measuring soil gas concentration over a diffusive gradient in this way allows one to separate both net production and

  9. Trait-based approaches for understanding microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

    PubMed Central

    Krause, Sascha; Le Roux, Xavier; Niklaus, Pascal A.; Van Bodegom, Peter M.; Lennon, Jay T.; Bertilsson, Stefan; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Philippot, Laurent; Bodelier, Paul L. E.

    2014-01-01

    In ecology, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has seen a shift in perspective from taxonomy to function in the last two decades, with successful application of trait-based approaches. This shift offers opportunities for a deeper mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity in maintaining multiple ecosystem processes and services. In this paper, we highlight studies that have focused on BEF of microbial communities with an emphasis on integrating trait-based approaches to microbial ecology. In doing so, we explore some of the inherent challenges and opportunities of understanding BEF using microbial systems. For example, microbial biologists characterize communities using gene phylogenies that are often unable to resolve functional traits. Additionally, experimental designs of existing microbial BEF studies are often inadequate to unravel BEF relationships. We argue that combining eco-physiological studies with contemporary molecular tools in a trait-based framework can reinforce our ability to link microbial diversity to ecosystem processes. We conclude that such trait-based approaches are a promising framework to increase the understanding of microbial BEF relationships and thus generating systematic principles in microbial ecology and more generally ecology. PMID:24904563

  10. Estimating Pan Arctic Net Ecosystem Exchange using Functional Relationships with Air temperature, Leaf Area Index and Photosynthetic Active Radiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mbufong, H.; Kusbach, A.; Lund, M.; Persson, A.; Christensen, T. R.; Tamstorf, M. P.; Connolly, J.

    2015-12-01

    The high variability in Arctic tundra net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon (C) is often attributed to the high spatial heterogeneity of Arctic tundra. Current models of carbon exchange thus handle the Arctic as either a single or few ecosystems, responding to environmental change in the same manner. In this study, we developed and tested a simple NEE model using the Misterlich light response curve (LRC) function with photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) as the main driving variable. Model calibration was carried out with eddy covariance carbon dioxide data from 12 Arctic tundra sites. The model input parameters (fcsat, Rd and α) were estimated as a function of air temperature and leaf area index (LAI) and represent specific characteristics of the NEE-PPFD relationship. They describe the saturation flux, dark respiration and initial light use efficiency, respectively. While remotely sensed LAI is readily available as a MODIS Terra product (MCD15A3), air temperature was estimated from a direct relationship with MODIS land surface temperature (MOD11A2, LST). Therefore, no specific knowledge of the vegetation type is required. Preliminary results show the model captures the spatial heterogeneity of the Arctic tundra but so far, overestimates NEE on all 17 test sites which include heaths, bogs, fens, and tussock tundra vegetation. The final updated results and error assessment will be presented at the conference in December.

  11. The Role of Remote Sensing in Modeling Landscape Change and Its Associated Carbon Cycle Impacts Across Terrestrial Arctic Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayes, D. J.; Goswami, S.; Jones, B. M.; Grosse, G.; Balser, A.; Wullschleger, S. D.

    2014-12-01

    Terrestrial ecosystems across the circumpolar Arctic region are undergoing unprecedented changes in structure and function as a result of rapid climate warming. Such changes have substantially altered energy, water and biogeochemical cycling in these regions, which has important global-scale consequences for climate and society. Recognizing the vulnerability of these ecosystems to change, scientists and decision-makers have identified a critical need for research that employs existing and new remote sensing technologies and methodologies to observe, monitor and understand changes in Arctic ecosystems. The unique capabilities provided by remote sensing imagery and data products have allowed us novel views of ecosystems and their dynamics over multiple scales in time and space across all regions of the globe. Here we offer a synthetic discussion of the recent and emerging science focused on understanding the dynamic landscape processes in Arctic terrestrial ecosystems using a variety of remotely-sensed information collected from passive and active sensors on ground-, aircraft- and satellite- based platforms. To consider the evolution of these technologies, methods and applications over recent decades, we look at key examples from the scientific literature that range from the use of radar sensors for local-scale characterization of active layer dynamics to the circumpolar-scale assessment of changes in vegetation productivity using long-term records of optical satellite imagery. This discussion has a particular focus on the use of remotely sensed data and products to parameterize, drive, evaluate and benchmark the modeling of Arctic ecosystem processes. We use these examples to demonstrate the opportunities for model-data integration, as well as to highlight the challenges of remote sensing studies in northern high latitude regions.

  12. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils

    SciTech Connect

    Lipson, David A.; Raab, Theodore K.; Parker, Melanie; Kelley, Scott T.; Brislawn, Colin J.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2015-08-01

    Summary This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes,

  13. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils

    SciTech Connect

    Lipson, David A.; Raab, Theodore K.; Parker, Melanie; Kelley, Scott T.; Brislawn, Colin J.; Jansson, Janet K.

    2015-07-21

    This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska, and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography, but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes, dominated by fermenters (Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes).

  14. Changes in microbial communities along redox gradients in polygonized Arctic wet tundra soils.

    PubMed

    Lipson, David A; Raab, Theodore K; Parker, Melanie; Kelley, Scott T; Brislawn, Colin J; Jansson, Janet

    2015-08-01

    This study investigated how microbial community structure and diversity varied with depth and topography in ice wedge polygons of wet tundra of the Arctic Coastal Plain in northern Alaska and what soil variables explain these patterns. We observed strong changes in community structure and diversity with depth, and more subtle changes between areas of high and low topography, with the largest differences apparent near the soil surface. These patterns are most strongly correlated with redox gradients (measured using the ratio of reduced Fe to total Fe in acid extracts as a proxy): conditions grew more reducing with depth and were most oxidized in shallow regions of polygon rims. Organic matter and pH also changed with depth and topography but were less effective predictors of the microbial community structure and relative abundance of specific taxa. Of all other measured variables, lactic acid concentration was the best, in combination with redox, for describing the microbial community. We conclude that redox conditions are the dominant force in shaping microbial communities in this landscape. Oxygen and other electron acceptors allowed for the greatest diversity of microbes: at depth the community was reduced to a simpler core of anaerobes, dominated by fermenters (Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes).

  15. Metagenomic analysis of stress genes in microbial mat communities from Antarctica and the High Arctic.

    PubMed

    Varin, Thibault; Lovejoy, Connie; Jungblut, Anne D; Vincent, Warwick F; Corbeil, Jacques

    2012-01-01

    Polar and alpine microbial communities experience a variety of environmental stresses, including perennial cold and freezing; however, knowledge of genomic responses to such conditions is still rudimentary. We analyzed the metagenomes of cyanobacterial mats from Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves, using high-throughput pyrosequencing to test the hypotheses that consortia from these extreme polar habitats were similar in terms of major phyla and subphyla and consequently in their potential responses to environmental stresses. Statistical comparisons of the protein-coding genes showed similarities between the mats from the two poles, with the majority of genes derived from Proteobacteria and Cyanobacteria; however, the relative proportions differed, with cyanobacterial genes more prevalent in the Antarctic mat metagenome. Other differences included a higher representation of Actinobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria in the Arctic metagenomes, which may reflect the greater access to diasporas from both adjacent ice-free lands and the open ocean. Genes coding for functional responses to environmental stress (exopolysaccharides, cold shock proteins, and membrane modifications) were found in all of the metagenomes. However, in keeping with the greater exposure of the Arctic to long-range pollutants, sequences assigned to copper homeostasis genes were statistically (30%) more abundant in the Arctic samples. In contrast, more reads matching the sigma B genes were identified in the Antarctic mat, likely reflecting the more severe osmotic stress during freeze-up of the Antarctic ponds. This study underscores the presence of diverse mechanisms of adaptation to cold and other stresses in polar mats, consistent with the proportional representation of major bacterial groups.

  16. Challenges in Modeling Disturbance Regimes and Their Impacts in Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGuire, A. D.; Rupp, T. S.; Kurz, W.

    2013-12-01

    Disturbances in arctic and boreal terrestrial ecosystems influence services provided by these ecosystems to society. In particular, changes in disturbance regimes in northern latitudes have uncertain consequences for the climate system. A major challenge for the scientific community is to develop the capability to predict how the frequency, severity and resultant impacts of disturbance regimes will change in response to future changes in climate projected for northern high latitudes. Here we compare what is known about drivers and impacts of wildfire, phytophagous insect pests, and thermokarst disturbance to illustrate the complexities in predicting future changes in disturbance regimes and their impacts in arctic and boreal regions. Much of the research on predicting fire has relied on the use of drivers related to fire weather. However, changes in vegetation, such as increases in broadleaf species, associated with intensified fire regimes have the potential to influence future fire regimes through negative feedbacks associated with reduced flammability. Phytophagous insect outbreaks have affected substantial portions of the boreal region in the past, but frequently the range of the tree host is larger than the range of the insect. There is evidence that a number of insect species are expanding their range in response to climate change. Major challenges to predicting outbreaks of phytophagous insects include modeling the effects of climate change on insect growth and maturation, winter mortality, plant host health, the synchrony of insect life stages and plant host phenology, and changes in the ranges of insect pests. Moreover, Earth System Models often simplify the representation of vegetation characteristics, e.g. the use of plant functional types, providing insufficient detail to link to insect population models. Thermokarst disturbance occurs when the thawing of ice-rich permafrost results in substantial ground subsidence. In the boreal forest, thermokarst can

  17. Regional-Scale Vegetation Dynamics in Patterned-Ground Ecosystems of Arctic Tundra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Epstein, H. E.; Kelley, A. M.; Walker, D. A.; Jia, G. J.; Raynolds, M. K.

    2006-12-01

    Regional-scale patterns of vegetation have been analyzed along a number of climate gradients throughout the world; these spatial dynamics provide important insights into the controlling factors of vegetation and the potential plant responses to environmental change. Only a few studies to date have collectively examined the vegetation biomass and production of arctic tundra ecosystems and their relationships to broadly ranging climate variables. No prior study has taken a systematic and consistent approach to examining vegetation biomass patterns along the full temperature gradient of the arctic biome. An additional complicating factor for studying vegetation of arctic tundra is the high spatial variability associated with small patterned-ground features (e.g. non-sorted circles and small non-sorted polygons), resulting from intense freeze-thaw processes. In this study, we sampled and analyzed the aboveground plant biomass components of patterned-ground ecosystems in the Arctic of northern Alaska and Canada along an 1800-km north-south gradient that spans approximately 11 degrees C of mean July temperatures. At each of ten locations along the regional temperature gradient, we ran several 50-m transects and harvested the aboveground biomass of three 20 x 50 cm plots for each transect. Vegetation biomass was dried, sorted by plant functional groups and tissue types, weighed, and analyzed as functions of the summer warmth index (SWI sum of mean monthly temperatures > 0). The absolute biomass (g/m2) of shrubs and graminoids increased exponentially with SWI, whereas forb and lichen biomass showed no change along the gradient. Moss biomass increased linearly with SWI, but with greater variabiliy than the other types. Relative aboveground biomass (% of total) of shrubs and graminoids increased with SWI, whereas percent lichen biomass decreased, and forbs again exhibited no significant change. Percentage of moss biomass was a parabolic function of SWI, with high relative

  18. Soil Microbial Community Successional Patterns during Forest Ecosystem Restoration ▿†

    PubMed Central

    Banning, Natasha C.; Gleeson, Deirdre B.; Grigg, Andrew H.; Grant, Carl D.; Andersen, Gary L.; Brodie, Eoin L.; Murphy, D. V.

    2011-01-01

    Soil microbial community characterization is increasingly being used to determine the responses of soils to stress and disturbances and to assess ecosystem sustainability. However, there is little experimental evidence to indicate that predictable patterns in microbial community structure or composition occur during secondary succession or ecosystem restoration. This study utilized a chronosequence of developing jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) forest ecosystems, rehabilitated after bauxite mining (up to 18 years old), to examine changes in soil bacterial and fungal community structures (by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis [ARISA]) and changes in specific soil bacterial phyla by 16S rRNA gene microarray analysis. This study demonstrated that mining in these ecosystems significantly altered soil bacterial and fungal community structures. The hypothesis that the soil microbial community structures would become more similar to those of the surrounding nonmined forest with rehabilitation age was broadly supported by shifts in the bacterial but not the fungal community. Microarray analysis enabled the identification of clear successional trends in the bacterial community at the phylum level and supported the finding of an increase in similarity to nonmined forest soil with rehabilitation age. Changes in soil microbial community structure were significantly related to the size of the microbial biomass as well as numerous edaphic variables (including pH and C, N, and P nutrient concentrations). These findings suggest that soil bacterial community dynamics follow a pattern in developing ecosystems that may be predictable and can be conceptualized as providing an integrated assessment of numerous edaphic variables. PMID:21724890

  19. [Microbial response mechanism for drying and rewetting effect on soil respiration in grassland ecosystem: a review].

    PubMed

    He, Yun-Long; Qi, Yu-Chun; Dong, Yun-She; Peng, Qin; Sun, Liang-Jie; Jia, Jun-Qiang; Guo, Shu-Fang; Yan, Zhong-Qing

    2014-11-01

    As one of the most important and wide distribution community type among terrestrial ecosystems, grassland ecosystem plays a critical role in the global carbon cycles and climate regulation. China has extremely rich grassland resources, which have a huge carbon sequestration potential and are an important part of the global carbon cycle. Drying and rewetting is a common natural phenomenon in soil, which might accelerate soil carbon mineralization process, increase soil respiration and exert profound influence on microbial activity and community structure. Under the background of the global change, the changes in rainfall capacity, strength and frequency would inevitably affect soil drying and wetting cycles, and thus change the microbial activity and community structure as well as soil respiration, and then exert important influence on global carbon budget. In this paper, related references in recent ten years were reviewed. The source of soil released, the trend of soil respiration over time and the relationship between soil respiration and microbial biomass, microbial activity and microbial community structure during the processes of dry-rewetting cycle were analyzed and summarized, in order to better understand the microbial response mechanism for drying and rewetting effecting on soil respiration in grassland ecosystem, and provide a certain theoretical basis for more accurate evaluation and prediction of future global carbon balance of terrestrial ecosystems and climate change.

  20. A multi-objective constraint-based approach for modeling genome-scale microbial ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bourdon, Jérémie; Larhlimi, Abdelhalim; Eveillard, Damien

    2017-01-01

    Interplay within microbial communities impacts ecosystems on several scales, and elucidation of the consequent effects is a difficult task in ecology. In particular, the integration of genome-scale data within quantitative models of microbial ecosystems remains elusive. This study advocates the use of constraint-based modeling to build predictive models from recent high-resolution -omics datasets. Following recent studies that have demonstrated the accuracy of constraint-based models (CBMs) for simulating single-strain metabolic networks, we sought to study microbial ecosystems as a combination of single-strain metabolic networks that exchange nutrients. This study presents two multi-objective extensions of CBMs for modeling communities: multi-objective flux balance analysis (MO-FBA) and multi-objective flux variability analysis (MO-FVA). Both methods were applied to a hot spring mat model ecosystem. As a result, multiple trade-offs between nutrients and growth rates, as well as thermodynamically favorable relative abundances at community level, were emphasized. We expect this approach to be used for integrating genomic information in microbial ecosystems. Following models will provide insights about behaviors (including diversity) that take place at the ecosystem scale. PMID:28187207

  1. Microbial dormancy improves development and experimental validation of ecosystem model

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, Gangsheng; Jagadamma, Sindhu; Mayes, Melanie; Schadt, Christopher Warren; Steinweg, Jessica M.; Gu, Lianhong; Post, Wilfred M.

    2014-07-11

    Climate feedbacks from soils can result from environmental change followed by response of plant and microbial communities, and/or associated changes in nutrient cycling. Explicit consideration of microbial life history traits and functions may be necessary to predict climate feedbacks due to changes in the physiology and community composition of microbes and their associated effect on carbon cycling. Here, we enhanced the Microbial-Enzyme-mediated Decomposition (MEND) model by incorporating microbial dormancy and the ability to track multiple isotopes of carbon. We tested two versions of MEND, i.e., MEND with dormancy and MEND without dormancy, against long-term (270 d) lab incubations of four soils with isotopically-labeled substrates. MEND without dormancy adequately fitted multiple observations (total and 14C respiration, and dissolved organic carbon), but at the cost of significantly underestimating the total microbial biomass. The MEND with dormancy improved estimates of microbial biomass by 20 71% over the MEND without dormancy. We observed large differences for two fitted model parameters, the specific maintenance and growth rates for active microbes, depending on whether dormancy was considered. Together our model extrapolations of the incubation study show that long-term soil incubations with observations in multiple carbon pools are necessary to estimate both decomposition and microbial parameters. These efforts should provide essential support to future field- and global-scale simulations and enable more confident predictions of feedbacks between environmental change and carbon cycling.

  2. Microbial dormancy improves development and experimental validation of ecosystem model

    DOE PAGES

    Wang, Gangsheng; Jagadamma, Sindhu; Mayes, Melanie; ...

    2014-07-11

    Climate feedbacks from soils can result from environmental change followed by response of plant and microbial communities, and/or associated changes in nutrient cycling. Explicit consideration of microbial life history traits and functions may be necessary to predict climate feedbacks due to changes in the physiology and community composition of microbes and their associated effect on carbon cycling. Here, we enhanced the Microbial-Enzyme-mediated Decomposition (MEND) model by incorporating microbial dormancy and the ability to track multiple isotopes of carbon. We tested two versions of MEND, i.e., MEND with dormancy and MEND without dormancy, against long-term (270 d) lab incubations of fourmore » soils with isotopically-labeled substrates. MEND without dormancy adequately fitted multiple observations (total and 14C respiration, and dissolved organic carbon), but at the cost of significantly underestimating the total microbial biomass. The MEND with dormancy improved estimates of microbial biomass by 20 71% over the MEND without dormancy. We observed large differences for two fitted model parameters, the specific maintenance and growth rates for active microbes, depending on whether dormancy was considered. Together our model extrapolations of the incubation study show that long-term soil incubations with observations in multiple carbon pools are necessary to estimate both decomposition and microbial parameters. These efforts should provide essential support to future field- and global-scale simulations and enable more confident predictions of feedbacks between environmental change and carbon cycling.« less

  3. Linking microbial and ecosystem ecology using ecological stoichiometry: a synthesis of conceptual and empirical approaches

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hall, E.K.; Maixner, F.; Franklin, O.; Daims, H.; Richter, A.; Battin, T.

    2011-01-01

    Currently, one of the biggest challenges in microbial and ecosystem ecology is to develop conceptual models that organize the growing body of information on environmental microbiology into a clear mechanistic framework with a direct link to ecosystem processes. Doing so will enable development of testable hypotheses to better direct future research and increase understanding of key constraints on biogeochemical networks. Although the understanding of phenotypic and genotypic diversity of microorganisms in the environment is rapidly accumulating, how controls on microbial physiology ultimately affect biogeochemical fluxes remains poorly understood. We propose that insight into constraints on biogeochemical cycles can be achieved by a more rigorous evaluation of microbial community biomass composition within the context of ecological stoichiometry. Multiple recent studies have pointed to microbial biomass stoichiometry as an important determinant of when microorganisms retain or recycle mineral nutrients. We identify the relevant cellular components that most likely drive changes in microbial biomass stoichiometry by defining a conceptual model rooted in ecological stoichiometry. More importantly, we show how X-ray microanalysis (XRMA), nanoscale secondary ion mass spectroscopy (NanoSIMS), Raman microspectroscopy, and in situ hybridization techniques (for example, FISH) can be applied in concert to allow for direct empirical evaluation of the proposed conceptual framework. This approach links an important piece of the ecological literature, ecological stoichiometry, with the molecular front of the microbial revolution, in an attempt to provide new insight into how microbial physiology could constrain ecosystem processes.

  4. Reviews and syntheses: Effects of permafrost thaw on Arctic aquatic ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vonk, J. E.; Tank, S. E.; Bowden, W. B.; Laurion, I.; Vincent, W. F.; Alekseychik, P.; Amyot, M.; Billet, M. F.; Canário, J.; Cory, R. M.; Deshpande, B. N.; Helbig, M.; Jammet, M.; Karlsson, J.; Larouche, J.; MacMillan, G.; Rautio, M.; Anthony, K. M. Walter; Wickland, K. P.

    2015-12-01

    The Arctic is a water-rich region, with freshwater systems covering about 16 % of the northern permafrost landscape. Permafrost thaw creates new freshwater ecosystems, while at the same time modifying the existing lakes, streams, and rivers that are impacted by thaw. Here, we describe the current state of knowledge regarding how permafrost thaw affects lentic (still) and lotic (moving) systems, exploring the effects of both thermokarst (thawing and collapse of ice-rich permafrost) and deepening of the active layer (the surface soil layer that thaws and refreezes each year). Within thermokarst, we further differentiate between the effects of thermokarst in lowland areas vs. that on hillslopes. For almost all of the processes that we explore, the effects of thaw vary regionally, and between lake and stream systems. Much of this regional variation is caused by differences in ground ice content, topography, soil type, and permafrost coverage. Together, these modifying factors determine (i) the degree to which permafrost thaw manifests as thermokarst, (ii) whether thermokarst leads to slumping or the formation of thermokarst lakes, and (iii) the manner in which constituent delivery to freshwater systems is altered by thaw. Differences in thaw-enabled constituent delivery can be considerable, with these modifying factors determining, for example, the balance between delivery of particulate vs. dissolved constituents, and inorganic vs. organic materials. Changes in the composition of thaw-impacted waters, coupled with changes in lake morphology, can strongly affect the physical and optical properties of thermokarst lakes. The ecology of thaw-impacted lakes and streams is also likely to change; these systems have unique microbiological communities, and show differences in respiration, primary production, and food web structure that are largely driven by differences in sediment, dissolved organic matter, and nutrient delivery. The degree to which thaw enables the delivery

  5. Reviews and Syntheses: Effects of permafrost thaw on arctic aquatic ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vonk, J. E.; Tank, S. E.; Bowden, W. B.; Laurion, I.; Vincent, W. F.; Alekseychik, P.; Amyot, M.; Billet, M. F.; Canário, J.; Cory, R. M.; Deshpande, B. N.; Helbig, M.; Jammet, M.; Karlsson, J.; Larouche, J.; MacMillan, G.; Rautio, M.; Anthony, K. M. Walter; Wickland, K. P.

    2015-07-01

    The Arctic is a water-rich region, with freshwater systems covering 16 % of the northern permafrost landscape. The thawing of this permafrost creates new freshwater ecosystems, while at the same time modifying the existing lakes, streams, and rivers that are impacted by thaw. Here, we describe the current state of knowledge regarding how permafrost thaw affects lentic and lotic systems, exploring the effects of both thermokarst (thawing and collapse of ice-rich permafrost) and deepening of the active layer (the surface soil layer that thaws and refreezes each year). Within thermokarst, we further differentiate between the effects of thermokarst in lowland areas, vs. that on hillslopes. For almost all of the processes that we explore, the effects of thaw vary regionally, and between lake and stream systems. Much of this regional variation is caused by differences in ground ice content, topography, soil type, and permafrost coverage. Together, these modifying variables determine the degree to which permafrost thaw manifests as thermokarst, whether thermokarst leads to slumping or the formation of thermokarst lakes, and the manner in which constituent delivery to freshwater systems is altered by thaw. Differences in thaw-enabled constituent delivery can be considerable, with these modifying variables determining, for example, the balance between delivery of particulate vs. dissolved constituents, and inorganic vs. organic materials. Changes in the composition of thaw-impacted waters, coupled with changes in lake morphology, can strongly affect the physical and optical properties of thermokarst lakes. The ecology of thaw-impacted systems is also likely to change, with thaw-impacted lakes and streams having unique microbiological communities, and showing differences in respiration, primary production, and food web structure that are largely driven by differences in sediment, dissolved organic matter and nutrient delivery. The degree to which thaw enables the delivery of

  6. Development of an advanced regional climate-ecosystem model for Arctic applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaudhary, Nitin; Smith, Benjamin; Miller, Paul

    2013-04-01

    Cryospheric processes together with their feedbacks play a crucial role in determining rates and patterns of future warming over high-latitude regions. Cryospheric processes including permafrost as well as peatland and associated vegetation, hydrological and biogeochemical dynamics are not well represented in land surface schemes (LSS) of most climate models. As a step in this direction, we describe a scheme to include the coupled dynamics of vegetation, hydrology and peat accumulation under climate forcing within a detailed vegetation dynamics-biogeochemistry model, LPJ GUESS (Smith et al. 2001; Miller et al., in preparation). In the first step, a one-dimensional (1D) landscape scale peat accumulation and two dimensional (2D) micro-topographical models have been developed. For the parameterisation and validation of these models, good quality datasets are being used which are collected at various locations around the Arctic. Building on these, a three-dimensional (3D) scheme will be incorporated in a version of LPJ-GUESS that already includes patch-scale vegetation dynamics and soil carbon cycling, as well as a one-dimensional hydrology scheme. The patches in the 3D model will be treated as adjacent micro-patches in a grid and depending on underlying micro-topography water will flow from higher to lower patches. The 2D and 3D models will help in simulating hummock and hollow structure which is typical for Northern peatlands based on the cyclic regeneration theory (von Post and Sernander, 1910). The resulting models will be incorporated within the biospheric component of a regional climate-ecosystem model, RCA-GUESS (Smith et al., 2010) and used to investigate feedbacks related to the dynamics of peatlands, permafrost and emissions of the greenhouse gases, mainly CO2 and CH4 across the Arctic region. References- Smith B, Prentice IC, and Skyes MT. 2001. Representation of vegetation dynamics in modelling of European ecosystems: comparison of two contrasting

  7. Relationships between ecosystem metabolism, benthic macroinvertebrate densities, and environmental variables in a sub-arctic Alaskan river

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Benson, Emily R.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Clapcott, Joanne E.; Hughes, Nicholas F.

    2013-01-01

    Relationships between environmental variables, ecosystem metabolism, and benthos are not well understood in sub-arctic ecosystems. The goal of this study was to investigate environmental drivers of river ecosystem metabolism and macroinvertebrate density in a sub-arctic river. We estimated primary production and respiration rates, sampled benthic macroinvertebrates, and monitored light intensity, discharge rate, and nutrient concentrations in the Chena River, interior Alaska, over two summers. We employed Random Forests models to identify predictor variables for metabolism rates and benthic macroinvertebrate density and biomass, and calculated Spearman correlations between in-stream nutrient levels and metabolism rates. Models indicated that discharge and length of time between high water events were the most important factors measured for predicting metabolism rates. Discharge was the most important variable for predicting benthic macroinvertebrate density and biomass. Primary production rate peaked at intermediate discharge, respiration rate was lowest at the greatest time since last high water event, and benthic macroinvertebrate density was lowest at high discharge rates. The ratio of dissolved inorganic nitrogen to soluble reactive phosphorus ranged from 27:1 to 172:1. We found that discharge plays a key role in regulating stream ecosystem metabolism, but that low phosphorous levels also likely limit primary production in this sub-arctic stream.

  8. Spatial variation in vegetation productivity trends, fire disturbance, and soil carbon across arctic-boreal permafrost ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loranty, Michael M.; Liberman-Cribbin, Wil; Berner, Logan T.; Natali, Susan M.; Goetz, Scott J.; Alexander, Heather D.; Kholodov, Alexander L.

    2016-09-01

    In arctic tundra and boreal forest ecosystems vegetation structural and functional influences on the surface energy balance can strongly influence permafrost soil temperatures. As such, vegetation changes will likely play an important role in permafrost soil carbon dynamics and associated climate feedbacks. Processes that lead to changes in vegetation, such as wildfire or ecosystem responses to rising temperatures, are of critical importance to understanding the impacts of arctic and boreal ecosystems on future climate. Yet these processes vary within and between ecosystems and this variability has not been systematically characterized across the arctic-boreal region. Here we quantify the distribution of vegetation productivity trends, wildfire, and near-surface soil carbon, by vegetation type, across the zones of continuous and discontinuous permafrost. Siberian larch forests contain more than one quarter of permafrost soil carbon in areas of continuous permafrost. We observe pervasive positive trends in vegetation productivity in areas of continuous permafrost, whereas areas underlain by discontinuous permafrost have proportionally less positive productivity trends and an increase in areas exhibiting negative productivity trends. Fire affects a much smaller proportion of the total area and thus a smaller amount of permafrost soil carbon, with the vast majority occurring in deciduous needleleaf forests. Our results indicate that vegetation productivity trends may be linked to permafrost distribution, fire affects a relatively small proportion of permafrost soil carbon, and Siberian larch forests will play a crucial role in the strength of the permafrost carbon climate feedback.

  9. A case study of high Arctic anthropogenic disturbance to polar desert permafrost and ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Becker, M. S.; Pollard, W. H.

    2013-12-01

    One of the indirect impacts of climate change on Arctic ecosystems is the expected increase of industrial development in high latitudes. The scale of terrestrial impacts cannot be known ahead of time, particularly due to a lack of long-term impact studies in this region. With one of the slowest community recovery rates of any ecosystem, the high Artic biome will be under a considerable threat that is exacerbated by a high susceptibility to change in the permafrost thermal balance. One such area that provides a suitable location for study is an old airstrip near Eureka, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut (80.0175°N, 85.7340°W). While primarily used as an ice-runway for winter transport, the airstrip endured a yearly summer removal of vegetation that continued from 1947 until its abandonment in 1951. Since then, significant vegetative and geomorphic differences between disturbed and undisturbed areas have been noted in the literature throughout the decades (Bruggemann, 1953; Beschel, 1963; Couture and Pollard, 2007), but no system wide assessment of both the ecosystem and near-surface permafrost has been conducted. Key to our study is that the greatest apparent geomorphic and vegetative changes have occurred and persisted in areas where underlying ice-wedges have been disturbed. This suggests that the colonizing communities rapidly filled new available thermokarst niches and have produced an alternative ice-wedge stable state than the surrounding polar desert. We hypothesize that disturbed areas will currently have greater depths of thaw (deeper active layers) and degraded ice-wedges, with decreased vegetation diversity but higher abundance due to a changed hydrological balance. To test this a comprehensive set of near-surface active layer and ecosystem measurements were conducted. Permafrost dynamics were characterized using probing and high-frequency Ground Penetrating Radar (500 MHz) to map the near-surface details of ice-wedges and active layer. Vegetation was measured

  10. Arctic and boreal ecosystems of western North America as components of the climate system

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chapin, F. S.; McGuire, A.D.; Randerson, J.; Pielke, R.; Baldocchi, D.; Hobbie, S.E.; Roulet, Nigel; Eugster, W.; Kasischke, E.; Rastetter, E.B.; Zimov, S.A.; Running, S.W.

    2000-01-01

    Synthesis of results from several Arctic and boreal research programmes provides evidence for the strong role of high-latitude ecosystems in the climate system. Average surface air temperature has increased 0.3??C per decade during the twentieth century in the western North American Arctic and boreal forest zones. Precipitation has also increased, but changes in soil moisture are uncertain. Disturbance rates have increased in the boreal forest; for example, there has been a doubling of the area burned in North America in the past 20 years. The disturbance regime in tundra may not have changed. Tundra has a 3-6-fold higher winter albedo than boreal forest, but summer albedo and energy partitioning differ more strongly among ecosystems within either tundra or boreal forest than between these two biomes. This indicates a need to improve our understanding of vegetation dynamics within, as well as between, biomes. If regional surface warming were to continue, changes in albedo and energy absorption would likely act as a positive feedback to regional warming due to earlier melting of snow and, over the long term, the northward movement of treeline. Surface drying and a change in dominance from mosses to vascular plants would also enhance sensible heat flux and regional warming in tundra. In the boreal forest of western North America, deciduous forests have twice the albedo of conifer forests in both winter and summer, 50-80% higher evapotranspiration, and therefore only 30-50% of the sensible heat flux of conifers in summer. Therefore, a warming-induced increase in fire frequency that increased the proportion of deciduous forests in the landscape, would act as a negative feedback to regional warming. Changes in thermokarst and the aerial extent of wetlands, lakes, and ponds would alter high-latitude methane flux. There is currently a wide discrepancy among estimates of the size and direction of CO2 flux between high-latitude ecosystems and the atmosphere. These

  11. Microbial Diversity in Sediment Ecosystems (Evaporites Domes, Microbial Mats, and Crusts) of Hypersaline Laguna Tebenquiche, Salar de Atacama, Chile.

    PubMed

    Fernandez, Ana B; Rasuk, Maria C; Visscher, Pieter T; Contreras, Manuel; Novoa, Fernando; Poire, Daniel G; Patterson, Molly M; Ventosa, Antonio; Farias, Maria E

    2016-01-01

    We combined nucleic acid-based molecular methods, biogeochemical measurements, and physicochemical characteristics to investigate microbial sedimentary ecosystems of Laguna Tebenquiche, Atacama Desert, Chile. Molecular diversity, and biogeochemistry of hypersaline microbial mats, rhizome-associated concretions, and an endoevaporite were compared with: The V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene was amplified by pyrosequencing to analyze the total microbial diversity (i.e., bacteria and archaea) in bulk samples, and in addition, in detail on a millimeter scale in one microbial mat and in one evaporite. Archaea were more abundant than bacteria. Euryarchaeota was one of the most abundant phyla in all samples, and particularly dominant (97% of total diversity) in the most lithified ecosystem, the evaporite. Most of the euryarchaeal OTUs could be assigned to the class Halobacteria or anaerobic and methanogenic archaea. Planctomycetes potentially also play a key role in mats and rhizome-associated concretions, notably the aerobic organoheterotroph members of the class Phycisphaerae. In addition to cyanobacteria, members of Chromatiales and possibly the candidate family Chlorotrichaceae contributed to photosynthetic carbon fixation. Other abundant uncultured taxa such as the candidate division MSBL1, the uncultured MBGB, and the phylum Acetothermia potentially play an important metabolic role in these ecosystems. Lithifying microbial mats contained calcium carbonate precipitates, whereas endoevoporites consisted of gypsum, and halite. Biogeochemical measurements revealed that based on depth profiles of O2 and sulfide, metabolic activities were much higher in the non-lithifying mat (peaking in the least lithified systems) than in lithifying mats with the lowest activity in endoevaporites. This trend in decreasing microbial activity reflects the increase in salinity, which may play an important role in the biodiversity.

  12. Microbial Diversity in Sediment Ecosystems (Evaporites Domes, Microbial Mats, and Crusts) of Hypersaline Laguna Tebenquiche, Salar de Atacama, Chile

    PubMed Central

    Fernandez, Ana B.; Rasuk, Maria C.; Visscher, Pieter T.; Contreras, Manuel; Novoa, Fernando; Poire, Daniel G.; Patterson, Molly M.; Ventosa, Antonio; Farias, Maria E.

    2016-01-01

    We combined nucleic acid-based molecular methods, biogeochemical measurements, and physicochemical characteristics to investigate microbial sedimentary ecosystems of Laguna Tebenquiche, Atacama Desert, Chile. Molecular diversity, and biogeochemistry of hypersaline microbial mats, rhizome-associated concretions, and an endoevaporite were compared with: The V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene was amplified by pyrosequencing to analyze the total microbial diversity (i.e., bacteria and archaea) in bulk samples, and in addition, in detail on a millimeter scale in one microbial mat and in one evaporite. Archaea were more abundant than bacteria. Euryarchaeota was one of the most abundant phyla in all samples, and particularly dominant (97% of total diversity) in the most lithified ecosystem, the evaporite. Most of the euryarchaeal OTUs could be assigned to the class Halobacteria or anaerobic and methanogenic archaea. Planctomycetes potentially also play a key role in mats and rhizome-associated concretions, notably the aerobic organoheterotroph members of the class Phycisphaerae. In addition to cyanobacteria, members of Chromatiales and possibly the candidate family Chlorotrichaceae contributed to photosynthetic carbon fixation. Other abundant uncultured taxa such as the candidate division MSBL1, the uncultured MBGB, and the phylum Acetothermia potentially play an important metabolic role in these ecosystems. Lithifying microbial mats contained calcium carbonate precipitates, whereas endoevoporites consisted of gypsum, and halite. Biogeochemical measurements revealed that based on depth profiles of O2 and sulfide, metabolic activities were much higher in the non-lithifying mat (peaking in the least lithified systems) than in lithifying mats with the lowest activity in endoevaporites. This trend in decreasing microbial activity reflects the increase in salinity, which may play an important role in the biodiversity. PMID:27597845

  13. Net ecosystem exchange of CO2 with rapidly changing high Arctic landscapes.

    PubMed

    Emmerton, Craig A; St Louis, Vincent L; Humphreys, Elyn R; Gamon, John A; Barker, Joel D; Pastorello, Gilberto Z

    2016-03-01

    High Arctic landscapes are expansive and changing rapidly. However, our understanding of their functional responses and potential to mitigate or enhance anthropogenic climate change is limited by few measurements. We collected eddy covariance measurements to quantify the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 with polar semidesert and meadow wetland landscapes at the highest latitude location measured to date (82°N). We coupled these rare data with ground and satellite vegetation production measurements (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index; NDVI) to evaluate the effectiveness of upscaling local to regional NEE. During the growing season, the dry polar semidesert landscape was a near-zero sink of atmospheric CO2 (NEE: -0.3 ± 13.5 g C m(-2) ). A nearby meadow wetland accumulated over 300 times more carbon (NEE: -79.3 ± 20.0 g C m(-2) ) than the polar semidesert landscape, and was similar to meadow wetland NEE at much more southerly latitudes. Polar semidesert NEE was most influenced by moisture, with wetter surface soils resulting in greater soil respiration and CO2 emissions. At the meadow wetland, soil heating enhanced plant growth, which in turn increased CO2 uptake. Our upscaling assessment found that polar semidesert NDVI measured on-site was low (mean: 0.120-0.157) and similar to satellite measurements (mean: 0.155-0.163). However, weak plant growth resulted in poor satellite NDVI-NEE relationships and created challenges for remotely detecting changes in the cycling of carbon on the polar semidesert landscape. The meadow wetland appeared more suitable to assess plant production and NEE via remote sensing; however, high Arctic wetland extent is constrained by topography to small areas that may be difficult to resolve with large satellite pixels. We predict that until summer precipitation and humidity increases enough to offset poor soil moisture retention, climate-related changes to productivity on polar semideserts may be restricted.

  14. Microbial assemblages in soil microbial succession after glacial retreat in Svalbard (high arctic).

    PubMed

    Kastovská, Klára; Elster, Josef; Stibal, Marek; Santrůcková, Hana

    2005-10-01

    Microbial community composition (cyanobacteria and eukaryotic microalgae abundance and diversity, bacterial abundance, and soil respiration) was studied in subglacial and periglacial habitats on five glaciers near Ny-Alesund, Svalbard (79 degrees N). Soil microbial communities from nonvegetated sites (subglacial, recently deglaciated, and cryoconite sediments) and sites with plant cover (deglaciated some hundreds of years ago) were analyzed. Physicochemical analyses (pH, texture, water content, organic matter, total C and N content) were also performed on the samples. In total, 57 taxa of 23 genera of cyanobacteriaand algae were identified. Algae from the class Chlorophyceae (25 species) and cyanobacteria (23 species) were richest in biodiversity. The numbers of identified species in single habitat types were 23 in subglacial, 39 inbarren, 22 in cryoconite, and 24 in vegetated soils. The highest cyanobacterial and algal biovolume and cell numbers, respectively, were present in cryoconite (13x10(4) microm3 mg-1 soil and 508 cells per mg of soil), followed by barren (5.7x10(4) and 188), vegetated (2.6x10(4) and 120), and subglacial (0.1x10(4) and 5) soils. Cyanobacteria prevailed in all soil samples. Algae (mainly green algae) were present only as accessory organisms. The density of bacteria showed a slightly different trend to that of the cyanobacterial and algal assemblages. The highest number of bacteria was present in vegetated (mean: 13,722x10(8) cells per mg of soil dry wt.), followed by cryoconite (3802x10(8)), barren (654x10(8)), and subglacial (78x10(8)) soils. Response of cyanobacteria and algae to physical parameters showed that soil texture and water content are important for biomass development. In addition, it is shown that nitrogen and water content are the main factors affecting bacterial abundance and overall soil respiration. Redundancy analysis (RDA) with forward selection was used to create a model explaining variability in cyanobacterial, algal

  15. Ecosystem Respiration Rates of Arctic Tundra Mesocosms in Response to Cold-Season Temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oberbauer, S. F.; Moser, J. G.; Olivas, P. C.; Starr, G.; Mortazavi, B.

    2013-12-01

    The cold season in the Arctic extends over 8 to 9 mo, during which air temperatures often reach as low as -40 °C. However, as a result of the insulating layer created by snow cover, temperatures seldom fall below -15 °C, and are likely warm enough to support some metabolism. Little research has been conducted on arctic plants and tundra during the cold season, despite its length and the fact that warming is predicted to be greatest during this period. The primary focus of cold-season research has been on rates of winter ecosystem respiration (ER) for estimates of annual carbon balance. The majority of these measurements during the winter or at winter temperatures indicate that some respiration is occurring. Although rates are low, they may contribute substantially to the annual carbon balance because of the length of the cold season. However, estimates of respiration at low temperatures differ substantially, have been taken at different temperatures using different methodologies, and importantly almost none provide quantitative relationships across a range of temperatures. We measured respiration rates of intact arctic tundra monoliths from 15 to -15 °C at 5 °C steps to facilitate improved model estimates of tundra respiration. Six tundra monoliths (~900 cm2) taken from Toolik Field Station, Alaska were conditioned for the cold season in growth chambers at shortened photoperiods and low, but above-freezing temperatures. Desired temperatures were obtained with a combination of growth chambers and a modified freezer. The average of five samplings of [CO2] at each temperature step was used to estimate the ER rates. Measurements were conducted with a closed system using incubation periods of 30 to 180 min, depending on the temperature. Carbon dioxide concentrations were measured by syringe samples injected into a N2 gas stream flowing through an infrared gas analyzer. Rates of ER calculated on an area basis were close to zero at -15 °C, but increased steadily with

  16. Metabolic and growth characteristics of novel diverse microbes isolated from deep cores collected at the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE)-Arctic site in Barrow, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chakraborty, R.; Pettenato, A.; Tas, N.; Hubbard, S. S.; Jansson, J.

    2013-12-01

    The Arctic is characterized by vast amounts of carbon stored in permafrost and is an important focal point for the study of climate change as increasing temperature may accelerate microbially mediated release of Carbon stored in permafrost into the atmosphere as CO2 and CH4. Yet surprisingly, very little is known about the vulnerability of permafrost and response of microorganisms in the permafrost to their changing environment. This deficiency is largely due to the difficulty in study of largely uncultivated and unknown permafrost microbes. As part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) in the Arctic, we collected permafrost cores in an effort to isolate resident microbes. The cores were from the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO), located at the northern most location on the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain near Barrow, AK, and up to 3m in depth. In this location, permafrost starts from 0.5m in depth and is characterized by variable water content and higher pH than surface soils. Enrichments for heterotrophic bacteria were initiated at 4°C and 1°C in the dark in several different media types, under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Positive enrichments were identified by an increase in optical density and cell counts after incubation period ranging from two to four weeks. After serial transfers into fresh media, individual colonies were obtained on agar surface. Several strains were isolated that include Firmicutes such as Bacillus, Clostridium, Sporosarcina, and Paenibacillus species and Iron-reducing Betaproteobacteria such as Rhodoferax species. In addition, methanogenic enrichments continue to grow and produce methane gas at 2°C. In this study, we present the characterization, carbon substrate utilization, pH, temperature and osmotic tolerance, as well as the effect of increasing climate change parameters on the growth rate and respiratory gas production from these permafrost isolates.

  17. Tracking Biological and Ecosystem Responses to Changing Environmental Conditions in the Pacific Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grebmeier, J. M.; Cooper, L. W.; Frey, K. E.; Moore, S. E.

    2014-12-01

    Changing seasonal sea ice conditions and seawater temperatures strongly influence biological processes and marine ecosystems at high latitudes. In the Pacific Arctic, persistent regions termed "hotspots", are localized areas with high benthic macroinfaunal biomass that have been documented over four decades (see Figure). These regions are now being more formally tracked to relate physical forcing and ecosystem response as an Arctic Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) supported by the US National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan and international partners. These hotspots are important foraging areas for upper trophic level benthic feeders, such as marine mammals and seabirds. South of St. Lawrence Island (SLI) in the northern Bering Sea, benthic feeding spectacled eiders, bearded seals and walruses are important winter consumers of infauna, such as bivalves and polychaetes. Gray whales have historically been a major summer consumer of benthic amphipods in the Chirikov Basin to the north of SLI, although summertime sightings of gray whales declined in the Chirikov from the 1980s up until at least 2002. The SE Chukchi Sea hotspot, as are the other hotspots, is maintained by export of high chlorophyll a that is produced locally as well as advected by water masses transiting northward through the system. Both walrus and gray whales are known to forage in this hotspot seasonally on high biomass levels of benthic prey. Notably the center of the highest benthic biomass regions has shifted northward in three of the DBO hotspots in recent years. This has coincided with changing sediment grain size, an indicator of current speed, and is also likely a response to changes in primary production in the region. Studies of these broad biological responses to changing physical drivers have been facilitated through development of the DBO cooperative effort by both US and international scientists. The DBO includes a series of coordinated, multi-trophic level observations that

  18. Above- and belowground responses of Arctic tundra ecosystems to altered soil nutrients and mammalian herbivory.

    PubMed

    Gough, Laura; Moore, John C; Shaver, Gauis R; Simpson, Rodney T; Johnson, David R

    2012-07-01

    Theory and observation indicate that changes in the rate of primary production can alter the balance between the bottom-up influences of plants and resources and the top-down regulation of herbivores and predators on ecosystem structure and function. The exploitation ecosystem hypothesis (EEH) posited that as aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) increases, the additional biomass should support higher trophic levels. We developed an extension of EEH to include the impacts of increases in ANPP on belowground consumers in a similar manner as aboveground, but indirectly through changes in the allocation of photosynthate to roots. We tested our predictions for plants aboveground and for phytophagous nematodes and their predators belowground in two common arctic tundra plant communities subjected to 11 years of increased soil nutrient availability and/or exclusion of mammalian herbivores. The less productive dry heath (DH) community met the predictions of EEH aboveground, with the greatest ANPP and plant biomass in the fertilized plots protected from herbivory. A palatable grass increased in fertilized plots while dwarf evergreen shrubs and lichens declined. Belowground, phytophagous nematodes also responded as predicted, achieving greater biomass in the higher ANPP plots, whereas predator biomass tended to be lower in those same plots (although not significantly). In the higher productivity moist acidic tussock (MAT) community, aboveground responses were quite different. Herbivores stimulated ANPP and biomass in both ambient and enriched soil nutrient plots; maximum ANPP occurred in fertilized plots exposed to herbivory. Fertilized plots became dominated by dwarf birch (a deciduous shrub) and cloudberry (a perennial forb); under ambient conditions these two species coexist with sedges, evergreen dwarf shrubs, and Sphagnum mosses. Phytophagous nematodes did not respond significantly to changes in ANPP, although predator biomass was greatest in control plots. The

  19. Environmental metabarcoding reveals heterogeneous drivers of microbial eukaryote diversity in contrasting estuarine ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Lallias, Delphine; Hiddink, Jan G; Fonseca, Vera G; Gaspar, John M; Sung, Way; Neill, Simon P; Barnes, Natalie; Ferrero, Tim; Hall, Neil; Lambshead, P John D; Packer, Margaret; Thomas, W Kelley; Creer, Simon

    2015-01-01

    Assessing how natural environmental drivers affect biodiversity underpins our understanding of the relationships between complex biotic and ecological factors in natural ecosystems. Of all ecosystems, anthropogenically important estuaries represent a ‘melting pot' of environmental stressors, typified by extreme salinity variations and associated biological complexity. Although existing models attempt to predict macroorganismal diversity over estuarine salinity gradients, attempts to model microbial biodiversity are limited for eukaryotes. Although diatoms commonly feature as bioindicator species, additional microbial eukaryotes represent a huge resource for assessing ecosystem health. Of these, meiofaunal communities may represent the optimal compromise between functional diversity that can be assessed using morphology and phenotype–environment interactions as compared with smaller life fractions. Here, using 454 Roche sequencing of the 18S nSSU barcode we investigate which of the local natural drivers are most strongly associated with microbial metazoan and sampled protist diversity across the full salinity gradient of the estuarine ecosystem. In order to investigate potential variation at the ecosystem scale, we compare two geographically proximate estuaries (Thames and Mersey, UK) with contrasting histories of anthropogenic stress. The data show that although community turnover is likely to be predictable, taxa are likely to respond to different environmental drivers and, in particular, hydrodynamics, salinity range and granulometry, according to varied life-history characteristics. At the ecosystem level, communities exhibited patterns of estuary-specific similarity within different salinity range habitats, highlighting the environmental sequencing biomonitoring potential of meiofauna, dispersal effects or both. PMID:25423027

  20. Microbial diversity in Cenozoic sediments recovered from the Lomonosov Ridge in the Central Arctic basin.

    PubMed

    Forschner, Stephanie R; Sheffer, Roberta; Rowley, David C; Smith, David C

    2009-03-01

    The current understanding of microbes inhabiting deeply buried marine sediments is based largely on samples collected from continental shelves in tropical and temperate latitudes. The geographical range of marine subsurface coring was expanded during the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Arctic Coring Expedition (IODP ACEX). This expedition to the ice-covered central Arctic Ocean successfully cored the entire 428 m sediment stack on the Lomonosov Ridge during August and September 2004. The recovered cores vary from siliciclastic sediment low in organic carbon (< 0.2%) to organic rich ( approximately 3%) black sediments that rapidly accumulated in the early middle Eocene. Three geochemical environments were characterized based on chemical analyses of porewater: an upper ammonium oxidation zone, a carbonate dissolution zone and a deep (> 200 m below sea floor) sulfate reduction zone. The diversity of microbes within each zone was assessed using 16S rRNA phylogenetic markers. Bacterial 16S rRNA genes were successfully amplified from each of the biogeochemical zones, while archaea was only amplified from the deep sulfate reduction zone. The microbial communities at each zone are phylogenetically different and are most closely related to those from other deep subsurface environments.

  1. Diversity, Productivity, and Stability of an Industrial Microbial Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Pei-Zhong; Becker, Scott; Hoang, Tony; Bilgin, Damla; Lim, Yan Wei; Peterson, Todd C.; Mayfield, Stephen; Haerizadeh, Farzad; Shurin, Jonathan B.; Bafna, Vineet; McBride, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Managing ecosystems to maintain biodiversity may be one approach to ensuring their dynamic stability, productivity, and delivery of vital services. The applicability of this approach to industrial ecosystems that harness the metabolic activities of microbes has been proposed but has never been tested at relevant scales. We used a tag-sequencing approach with bacterial small subunit rRNA (16S) genes and eukaryotic internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) to measuring the taxonomic composition and diversity of bacteria and eukaryotes in an open pond managed for bioenergy production by microalgae over a year. Periods of high eukaryotic diversity were associated with high and more-stable biomass productivity. In addition, bacterial diversity and eukaryotic diversity were inversely correlated over time, possibly due to their opposite responses to temperature. The results indicate that maintaining diverse communities may be essential to engineering stable and productive bioenergy ecosystems using microorganisms. PMID:26896141

  2. MICROBIAL POPULATION ANALYSIS AS A MEASURE OF ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    During a controlled oil spill study in a freshwater wetland, four methods were used to track changes in microbial populations in response to in situ remediation treatments, including nutrient amendments and the removal of surface vegetation. Most probable number (MPN) esimates o...

  3. Microbial Biogeography of Arctic Streams: Exploring Influences of Lithology and Habitat

    PubMed Central

    Larouche, Julia R.; Bowden, William B.; Giordano, Rosanna; Flinn, Michael B.; Crump, Byron C.

    2012-01-01

    Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and 16S rRNA gene sequencing were used to explore the community composition of bacterial communities in biofilms on sediments (epipssamon) and rocks (epilithon) in stream reaches that drain watersheds with contrasting lithologies in the Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. Bacterial community composition varied primarily by stream habitat and secondarily by lithology. Positive correlations were detected between bacterial community structure and nutrients, base cations, and dissolved organic carbon. Our results showed significant differences at the stream habitat, between epipssamon and epilithon bacterial communities, which we expected. Our results also showed significant differences at the landscape scale that could be related to different lithologies and associated stream biogeochemistry. These results provide insight into the bacterial community composition of little known and pristine arctic stream ecosystems and illustrate how differences in the lithology, soils, and vegetation community of the terrestrial environment interact to influence stream bacterial taxonomic richness and composition. PMID:22936932

  4. Marine ecosystem synthesis: From physics to whales in the Pacific Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheffield Guy, Lisa; Moore, Sue E.; Stabeno, Phyllis

    2012-11-01

    Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR) Workshop; Anchorage, Alaska, 14-16 March 2012 The Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR) program brings together a multidisciplinary group of Arctic scientists and Alaskan coastal community residents to explore and integrate marine research information in the Pacific Arctic region. The goal of SOAR is to increase scientific understanding of the relationships among oceanographic conditions (physics, chemistry, sea ice), benthic organisms, lower trophic pelagic species (forage fish and zooplankton), and higher trophic species (i.e., seabirds, walrus, whales) in the Pacific Arctic, with particular emphasis on the Chukchi Sea oil and gas lease sale areas.

  5. Effects of non-indigenous oysters on microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Green, Dannielle S; Boots, Bas; Crowe, Tasman P

    2012-01-01

    Invasive ecosystem engineers can physically and chemically alter the receiving environment, thereby affecting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, invasive throughout much of the world, can establish dense populations monopolising shorelines and possibly altering ecosystem processes including decomposition and nutrient cycling. The effects of increasing cover of invasive C. gigas on ecosystem processes and associated microbial assemblages in mud-flats were tested experimentally in the field. Pore-water nutrients (NH(4)(+) and total oxidised nitrogen), sediment chlorophyll content, microbial activity, total carbon and nitrogen, and community respiration (CO(2) and CH(4)) were measured to assess changes in ecosystem functioning. Assemblages of bacteria and functionally important microbes, including methanogens, methylotrophs and ammonia-oxidisers were assessed in the oxic and anoxic layers of sediment using terminal restriction length polymorphism of the bacterial 16S rRNA, mxaF, amoA and archaeal mcrA genes respectively. At higher covers (40 and 80%) of oysters there was significantly greater microbial activity, increased chlorophyll content, CO(2) (13 fold greater) and CH(4) (6 fold greater) emission from the sediment compared to mud-flats without C. gigas. At 10% cover, C. gigas increased the concentration of total oxidised nitrogen and altered the assemblage structure of ammonia-oxidisers and methanogens. Concentrations of pore-water NH(4)(+) were increased by C. gigas regardless of cover. Invasive species can alter ecosystem functioning not only directly, but also indirectly, by affecting microbial communities vital for the maintenance of ecosystem processes, but the nature and magnitude of these effects can be non-linear, depending on invader abundance.

  6. Shifts in the distribution of molting Spectacled Eiders (Somateria fischeri) indicate ecosystem change in the Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sexson, Matthew; Petersen, Margaret; Greg A. Breed,; Powell, Abby N.

    2016-01-01

    Shifts in the distribution of benthivorous predators provide an indication of underlying environmental changes in benthic-mediated ecosystems. Spectacled Eiders (Somateria fischeri) are benthivorous sea ducks that spend the nonbreeding portion of their annual cycle in the Bering, Chukchi, Beaufort, and East Siberian seas. Sea ducks generally molt in biologically productive areas with abundant prey. If the distribution of eiders at molting areas matches prey abundance, spatial shifts may indicate changes in environmental conditions in the Arctic. We used a randomization procedure to test for shifts in the distribution of satellite telemetry locations received from Spectacled Eiders in the 1990s and 2008–2011 within 4 late-summer, ice-free molting areas: Indigirka–Kolyma, northern Russia; Ledyard Bay, eastern Chukchi Sea; Norton Sound, northeastern Bering Sea; and Mechigmenskiy Gulf, northwestern Bering Sea. We also tested for interannual and interdecadal changes in dive depth required to reach prey, which might affect the energetic costs of foraging during the molting period. Transmitter-marked birds used each molting area in each year, although the distribution of Spectacled Eiders shifted within each area. Interdecadal shifts in Ledyard Bay and Norton Sound decreased dive depth in recent years, although minor differences in depth were biologically negligible in relation to the energetic expense of feather growth. Shifts in Mechigmenskiy Gulf and Indigirka–Kolyma did not occur consistently within or among decades, which suggests greater interannual variability among environmental factors that influence distribution in these areas. Shifts in each molting area suggest dynamic ecosystem processes, with implications for Spectacled Eiders if changes result in novel competition or predation, or in shifting prey regimes.

  7. Timing, Magnitude and Sources of Ecosystem Respiration in High Arctic Tundra of NW Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupascu, M.; Xu, X.; Lett, C.; Maseyk, K. S.; Lindsey, D. S.; Thomas, J. S.; Welker, J. M.; Czimczik, C. I.

    2011-12-01

    High arctic ecosystems with low vegetation density contain significant stocks of organic carbon (C) in the form of soil organic matter that range in age from modern to ancient. How rapidly these C pools can be mineralized and lost to the atmosphere as CO2 (ecosystem respiration, ER) as a consequence of warming and, or changes in precipitation is a major uncertainty in our understanding of current and future arctic biogeochemistry and for predicting future levels of atmospheric CO2. In a 2-year study (2010-2011), we monitored seasonal changes in the magnitude, timing and sources of ER and soil pore space CO2 in the High Arctic of NW Greenland under current and simulated, future climate conditions. Measurements were taken from May to August at a multi-factorial, long-term climate change experiment in prostrate dwarf-shrub tundra on patterned ground with 5 treatments: (T1) +2oC warming, (T2) +4oC warming, (W) +50% summer precipitation, (T2W) +4oC + 50% summer precipitation, and (C) control. ER (using opaque chambers) and soil CO2 concentrations (wells) were monitored daily via infrared spectroscopy (LI-COR 800 & 840). The source of CO2 was inferred from its radiocarbon (14C) content analyzed at the AMS facility in UCI. CO2 was sampled monthly using molecular sieve traps (chambers) or evacuated canisters (wells). Highest rates of ER are observed on vegetated ground with a maximum in mid summer - reflecting a peak in plant productivity and soil temperature. Respiration rates from bare ground remain similar throughout the summer. Additional soil moisture, administered or due to precipitation events, strongly enhances ER from both vegetated and bare ground. Daily ER budget for the sampling period was of 53.1 mmol C m-2 day-1 for the (C) vegetated areas compared to the 60.0 for the (T2), 68.1 for the (T2W) or the 79.9 for the (W) treatment. ER was highly correlated to temperature (eg. C = 0.8; T2W = 0.8) until middle of July, when heavy precipitation started to occur. In

  8. MICROBIAL INDICATORS OF AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM CHANGE: CURRENT APPLICATIONS TO EUTROPHICATION STUDIES. (R828677C001)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Human encroachment on aquatic ecosystems is increasing at an unprecedented rate. The impacts of human pollution and habitat alteration are most evident and of greatest concern at the microbial level, where a bulk of production and nutrient cycling takes place. Aquatic ecosyste...

  9. Arctic Ocean Atmosphere Sea Ice Snowpack (OASIS) Interactions Affecting Atmospheric Biogeochemistry, Climate and Ecosystems in the Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beine, H.

    2006-12-01

    The Arctic Ocean is central to the understanding of climate and global environmental change. As a critical component of the Earth system, the Arctic region both influences and responds rapidly to natural variations and to human-induced perturbations, such as warming, contaminant accumulation, and associated impacts. While it is clear that there are dramatic changes occurring in the Arctic, the interactions between the air and surfaces are still not understood. The international, multidisciplinary Ocean-Atmosphere-Sea Ice-Snowpack (OASIS) program addresses the knowledge gaps and coordinates studies of Arctic atmosphere-surface interactions and associated feedbacks to the climate system. OASIS is planned as a long term science program for the next decade. OASIS is linked to a number of international organizations and activities, including AMAP, the IGBP programs IGAC under the AICI (Air Ice Chemical Interactions) activity, and SOLAS (Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study), and the WCRP project CliC (Climate and Cryosphere). The abundant snowpack in the Arctic is not just a white cover: an array of intriguing reactions has been observed within and on snowpacks and sea-ice during springtime Arctic sunrise that dramatically influences the composition of the atmosphere. Building on these discoveries, the OASIS research approach is aimed at a better understanding of air-surface chemical exchange in the context of a changing climate. Fundamental physical, chemical, and biologically-mediated chemical exchange processes will be studied to answer questions such as: Will climate change increase or decrease the amount of mercury deposited in the Arctic? How will warming affect regional and global climate? How are sea ice and snow chemistry and physics changing? What is the role of biological processes in producing reactive atmospheric gases? What is the role of sea-salt in ozone depletion? What are ecological and human health impacts of toxic materials such as mercury and

  10. Hematology of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (2005-2007): biomarker for an Arctic ecosystem health sentinel.

    PubMed

    Kirk, Cassandra M; Amstrup, Steven; Swor, Rhonda; Holcomb, Darce; O'Hara, Todd M

    2010-09-01

    Declines in sea-ice habitats have resulted in declining stature, productivity, and survival of polar bears in some regions. With continuing sea-ice declines, negative population effects are projected to expand throughout the polar bear's range. Precise causes of diminished polar bear life history performance are unknown, however, climate and sea-ice condition change are expected to adversely impact polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health and population dynamics. As apex predators in the Arctic, polar bears integrate the status of lower trophic levels and are therefore sentinels of ecosystem health. Arctic residents feed at the apex of the ecosystem, thus polar bears can serve as indicators of human health in the Arctic. Despite their value as indicators of ecosystem welfare, population-level health data for U.S. polar bears are lacking. We present hematological reference ranges for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears. Hematological parameters in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears varied by age, geographic location, and reproductive status. Total leukocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and serum immunoglobulin G were significantly greater in males than females. These measures were greater in nonlactating females ages ≥5, than lactating adult females ages ≥5, suggesting that females encumbered by young may be less resilient to new immune system challenges that may accompany ongoing climate change. Hematological values established here provide a necessary baseline for anticipated changes in health as arctic temperatures warm and sea-ice declines accelerate. Data suggest that females with dependent young may be most vulnerable to these changes and should therefore be a targeted cohort for monitoring in this sentinel.

  11. Hematology of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (2005-2007): Biomarker for an arctic ecosystem health sentinel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirk, Cassandra M.; Amstrup, S.; Swor, Rhonda; Holcomb, Darce; O'Hara, T. M.

    2010-01-01

    Declines in sea-ice habitats have resulted in declining stature, productivity, and survival of polar bears in some regions. With continuing sea-ice declines, negative population effects are projected to expand throughout the polar bear's range. Precise causes of diminished polar bear life history performance are unknown, however, climate and sea-ice condition change are expected to adversely impact polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health and population dynamics. As apex predators in the Arctic, polar bears integrate the status of lower trophic levels and are therefore sentinels of ecosystem health. Arctic residents feed at the apex of the ecosystem, thus polar bears can serve as indicators of human health in the Arctic. Despite their value as indicators of ecosystem welfare, population-level health data for U.S. polar bears are lacking. We present hematological reference ranges for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears. Hematological parameters in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears varied by age, geographic location, and reproductive status. Total leukocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and serum immunoglobulin G were significantly greater in males than females. These measures were greater in nonlactating females ages ???5, than lactating adult females ages ???5, suggesting that females encumbered by young may be less resilient to new immune system challenges that may accompany ongoing climate change. Hematological values established here provide a necessary baseline for anticipated changes in health as arctic temperatures warm and sea-ice declines accelerate. Data suggest that females with dependent young may be most vulnerable to these changes and should therefore be a targeted cohort for monitoring in this sentinel. ?? 2010 International Association for Ecology and Health.

  12. Arctic Marine Biogeochemistry in a Global Ice-Ocean Ecosystem Model: A Look at Seasonal Features and Spatial Patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deal, C.; Jin, M.; Elliott, S.; Jeffery, N.; Steiner, N.; Carpenter, L.; Chance, R.

    2015-12-01

    The LANL-UAF ice-ocean ecosystem model was developed to investigate how sea ice influences biogeochemical cycling in the arctic marine environment and predict how it will do so in the future. Sea ice is an integral component of arctic biogeochemical cycles. Rapidly changing sea ice conditions, such as thinning, increasing open water area and freshening impact C, N, and S cycles in multiple interacting ways. Here we discuss model results for chlorophyll, primary productivity, nutrients, and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) in the Arctic Ocean. We compare our results to observations and simulations from other Arctic biogeochemical models. Participation in several recent intercomparison studies provide context for interpretation of our own model results. Key seasonal features and spatial patterns of biogeochemical phenomena studied include pan-Arctic primary production, subsurface chlorophyll maxima, under-ice phytoplankton blooms, and relatively high seawater DMS concentrations following the retreating ice edge. Not surprisingly, in most all cases, the model's success depends on how well the physical processes (e.g., vertical mixing, melt-water stratification) realistically distribute available nutrients. Further explanations for model-model and model-observation agreement/disagreement will be presented. While the model predicted high ice primary productivity recently recorded in the Bering Sea, the model shows no indication of extremely high seawater DMS recently observed at sea ice stations north of Svalbard. Preliminary model results from a high resolution version of our model, as part of the Regional Arctic System Model - Marine Biogeochemistry (i.e., RASM-mBGC) project, will also be presented.

  13. Long-term experimentally deepened snow decreases growing-season respiration in a low- and high-arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Semenchuk, Philipp R.; Christiansen, Casper T.; Grogan, Paul; Elberling, Bo; Cooper, Elisabeth J.

    2016-05-01

    Tundra soils store large amounts of carbon (C) that could be released through enhanced ecosystem respiration (ER) as the arctic warms. Over time, this may change the quantity and quality of available soil C pools, which in-turn may feedback and regulate ER responses to climate warming. Therefore, short-term increases in ER rates due to experimental warming may not be sustained over longer periods, as observed in other studies. One important aspect, which is often overlooked, is how climatic changes affecting ER in one season may carry-over and determine ER in following seasons. Using snow fences, we increased snow depth and thereby winter soil temperatures in a high-arctic site in Svalbard (78°N) and a low-arctic site in the Northwest Territories, Canada (64°N), for 5 and 9 years, respectively. Deepened snow enhanced winter ER while having negligible effect on growing-season soil temperatures and soil moisture. Growing-season ER at the high-arctic site was not affected by the snow treatment after 2 years. However, surprisingly, the deepened snow treatments significantly reduced growing-season ER rates after 5 years at the high-arctic site and after 8-9 years at the low-arctic site. We speculate that the reduction in ER rates, that became apparent only after several years of experimental manipulation, may, at least in part, be due to prolonged depletion of labile C substrate as a result of warmer soils over multiple cold seasons. Long-term changes in winter climate may therefore significantly influence annual net C balance not just because of increased wintertime C loss but also because of "legacy" effects on ER rates during the following growing seasons.

  14. Seasonal and spatial variation in soil chemistry and anaerobic processes in an Arctic ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lipson, D.; Mauritz, M.; Bozzolo, F.; Raab, T. K.; Santos, M. J.; Friedman, E. F.; Rosenbaum, M.; Angenent, L.

    2009-12-01

    Drained thaw lake basins (DTLB) are the dominant landform in the Arctic coastal plain near Barrow, Alaska. Our previous work in a DTLB showed that Fe(III) and humic substances are important electron acceptors in anaerobic respiration, and play a significant role in the C cycle of these organic-rich soils. In the current study, we investigated seasonal and spatial patterns of availability of electron acceptors and labile substrate, redox conditions and microbial activity. Landscapes within DTLB contain complex, fine-scale topography arising from ice wedge polygons, which produce raised and lowered areas. One goal of our study was to determine the effects of microtopographic variation on the potential for Fe(III) reduction and other anaerobic processes. Additionally, the soil in the study site has a complex vertical structure, with an organic peat layer overlying a mineral layer, overlying permafrost. We described variations in soil chemistry across depth profiles into the permafrost. Finally, we installed an integrated electrode/potentiostat system to electrochemically monitor microbial activity in the soil. Topographically low areas differed from high areas in most of the measured variables: low areas had lower oxidation-reduction potential, higher pH and electrical conductivity. Soil pore water from low areas had higher concentrations of Fe(III), Fe(II), dissolved organic C (DOC), and aromaticity (UV absorbance at 260nm, “A260”). Low areas also had higher concentrations of dissolve CO2 and CH4 in soil pore water. Laboratory incubations of soil showed a trend toward higher potentials for Fe(III) reduction in topographically low areas. Clearly, ice wedge-induced microtopography exerts a strong control on microbial processes in this DTLB landscape, with increased anaerobic activity occurring in the wetter, depressed areas. Soil water extracted from 5-15 cm depth had higher concentrations of Fe(III), Fe(II), A260, and DOC compared to soil water sampled from 0-5cm

  15. Spatial Variations of Soil Microbial Activities in Saline Groundwater-Irrigated Soil Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Li-Juan; Feng, Qi; Li, Chang-Sheng; Song, You-Xi; Liu, Wei; Si, Jian-Hua; Zhang, Bao-Gui

    2016-05-01

    Spatial variations of soil microbial activities and its relationship with environmental factors are very important for estimating regional soil ecosystem function. Based on field samplings in a typical saline groundwater-irrigated region, spatial variations of soil microbial metabolic activities were investigated. Combined with groundwater quality analysis, the relationship between microbial activities and water salinity was also studied. The results demonstrated that moderate spatial heterogeneity of soil microbial activities presented under the total dissolved solids (TDS) of groundwater ranging from 0.23 to 12.24 g L-1. Groundwater salinity and microbial activities had almost opposite distribution characteristics: slight saline water was mainly distributed in west Baqu and south Quanshan, while severe saline and briny water were dominant in east Baqu and west Huqu; however, total AWCD was higher in the east-center and southwest of Baqu and east Huqu, while it was lower in east Baqu and northwest Huqu. The results of correlation analyses demonstrated that high-salinity groundwater irrigation had significantly adverse effects on soil microbial activities. Major ions Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl_, and SO4 2- in groundwater decisively influenced the results. Three carbon sources, carbohydrates, amines, and phenols, which had minor utilization rates in all irrigation districts, were extremely significantly affected by high-salinity groundwater irrigation. The results presented here offer an approach for diagnosing regional soil ecosystem function changes under saline water irrigation.

  16. Spatial Variations of Soil Microbial Activities in Saline Groundwater-Irrigated Soil Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Chen, Li-Juan; Feng, Qi; Li, Chang-Sheng; Song, You-Xi; Liu, Wei; Si, Jian-Hua; Zhang, Bao-Gui

    2016-05-01

    Spatial variations of soil microbial activities and its relationship with environmental factors are very important for estimating regional soil ecosystem function. Based on field samplings in a typical saline groundwater-irrigated region, spatial variations of soil microbial metabolic activities were investigated. Combined with groundwater quality analysis, the relationship between microbial activities and water salinity was also studied. The results demonstrated that moderate spatial heterogeneity of soil microbial activities presented under the total dissolved solids (TDS) of groundwater ranging from 0.23 to 12.24 g L(-1). Groundwater salinity and microbial activities had almost opposite distribution characteristics: slight saline water was mainly distributed in west Baqu and south Quanshan, while severe saline and briny water were dominant in east Baqu and west Huqu; however, total AWCD was higher in the east-center and southwest of Baqu and east Huqu, while it was lower in east Baqu and northwest Huqu. The results of correlation analyses demonstrated that high-salinity groundwater irrigation had significantly adverse effects on soil microbial activities. Major ions Ca(2+), Mg(2+), Cl(-), and SO4(2-) in groundwater decisively influenced the results. Three carbon sources, carbohydrates, amines, and phenols, which had minor utilization rates in all irrigation districts, were extremely significantly affected by high-salinity groundwater irrigation. The results presented here offer an approach for diagnosing regional soil ecosystem function changes under saline water irrigation.

  17. Life at the wedge: the activity and diversity of arctic ice wedge microbial communities.

    PubMed

    Wilhelm, Roland C; Radtke, Kristin J; Mykytczuk, Nadia C S; Greer, Charles W; Whyte, Lyle G

    2012-04-01

    The discovery of polygonal terrain on Mars underlain by ice heightens interest in the possibility that this water-bearing habitat may be, or may have been, a suitable habitat for extant life. The possibility is supported by the recurring detection of terrestrial microorganisms in subsurface ice environments, such as ice wedges found beneath tundra polygon features. A characterization of the microbial community of ice wedges from the high Arctic was performed to determine whether this ice environment can sustain actively respiring microorganisms and to assess the ecology of this extreme niche. We found that ice wedge samples contained a relatively abundant number of culturable cells compared to other ice habitats (∼10(5) CFU·mL(-1)). Respiration assays in which radio-labeled acetate and in situ measurement of CO(2) flux were used suggested low levels of microbial activity, though more sensitive techniques are required to confirm these findings. Based on 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing, bacterial and archaeal ice wedge communities appeared to reflect surrounding soil communities. Two Pseudomonas sp. were the most abundant taxa in the ice wedge bacterial library (∼50%), while taxa related to ammonia-oxidizing Thaumarchaeota occupied 90% of the archaeal library. The tolerance of a variety of isolates to salinity and temperature revealed characteristics of a psychrotolerant, halotolerant community. Our findings support the hypothesis that ice wedges are capable of sustaining a diverse, plausibly active microbial community. As such, ice wedges, compared to other forms of less habitable ground ice, could serve as a reservoir for life on permanently cold, water-scarce, ice-rich extraterrestrial bodies and are therefore of interest to astrobiologists and ecologists alike. .

  18. Responses of microbial communities in Arctic sea ice after contamination by crude petroleum oil.

    PubMed

    Brakstad, Odd Gunnar; Nonstad, Ingunn; Faksness, Liv-Guri; Brandvik, Per Johan

    2008-04-01

    Microbial communities associated with Arctic fjord ice polluted with petroleum oils were investigated in this study. A winter field experiment was conducted in the Van Mijen Fjord (Svalbard) from February to June 2004, in which the ice was contaminated with a North Sea paraffinic oil. Holes were drilled in the ice and oil samples frozen into the ice at the start of the experiment. Samples, including cores of both oil-contaminated and clean ice, were collected from the field site 33, 74, and 112 days after oil application. The sampled cores were separated into three sections and processed for microbiological and chemical analyses. In the oil-contaminated cores, enumerations of total prokaryotic cells by fluorescence microscopy and colony-forming units (CFU) counts of heterotrophic prokaryotes both showed stimulation of microbial growth, while concentrations of oil-degrading prokaryotes remained at similar levels in contaminated and clean ice. Analysis of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified bacterial 16S rRNA gene fragments by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) revealed that bacterial communities in oil-contaminated ice generated fewer bands than communities in clean ice, although banding patterns changed both in contaminated and clean ice during the experimental period. Microbial communities in unpolluted ice and in cores contaminated with the paraffinic oil were examined by cloning and sequence analysis. In the contaminated cores, the communities became predominated by Gammaproteobacteria related to the genera Colwellia, Marinomonas, and Glaciecola, while clean ice included more heterogeneous populations. Chemical analysis of the oil-contaminated ice cores with determinations of n-C17/Pristane and naphthalene/phenanthrene ratios indicated slow oil biodegradation in the ice, primarily in the deeper parts of the ice with low hydrocarbon concentrations.

  19. Microbial iron oxidation in the Arctic tundra and its implications for biogeochemical cycling.

    PubMed

    Emerson, David; Scott, Jarrod J; Benes, Joshua; Bowden, William B

    2015-12-01

    The role that neutrophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria play in the Arctic tundra is unknown. This study surveyed chemosynthetic iron-oxidizing communities at the North Slope of Alaska near Toolik Field Station (TFS) at Toolik Lake (lat 68.63, long -149.60). Microbial iron mats were common in submerged habitats with stationary or slowly flowing water, and their greatest areal extent is in coating plant stems and sediments in wet sedge meadows. Some Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) produce easily recognized sheath or stalk morphotypes that were present and dominant in all the mats we observed. The cool water temperatures (9 to 11°C) and reduced pH (5.0 to 6.6) at all sites kinetically favor microbial iron oxidation. A microbial survey of five sites based on 16S rRNA genes found a predominance of Proteobacteria, with Betaproteobacteria and members of the family Comamonadaceae being the most prevalent operational taxonomic units (OTUs). In relative abundance, clades of lithotrophic FeOB composed 5 to 10% of the communities. OTUs related to cyanobacteria and chloroplasts accounted for 3 to 25% of the communities. Oxygen profiles showed evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis at the surface of some mats, indicating the coexistence of photosynthetic and FeOB populations. The relative abundance of OTUs belonging to putative Fe-reducing bacteria (FeRB) averaged around 11% in the sampled iron mats. Mats incubated anaerobically with 10 mM acetate rapidly initiated Fe reduction, indicating that active iron cycling is likely. The prevalence of iron mats on the tundra might impact the carbon cycle through lithoautotrophic chemosynthesis, anaerobic respiration of organic carbon coupled to iron reduction, and the suppression of methanogenesis, and it potentially influences phosphorus dynamics through the adsorption of phosphorus to iron oxides.

  20. Microbial Iron Oxidation in the Arctic Tundra and Its Implications for Biogeochemical Cycling

    PubMed Central

    Scott, Jarrod J.; Benes, Joshua; Bowden, William B.

    2015-01-01

    The role that neutrophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria play in the Arctic tundra is unknown. This study surveyed chemosynthetic iron-oxidizing communities at the North Slope of Alaska near Toolik Field Station (TFS) at Toolik Lake (lat 68.63, long −149.60). Microbial iron mats were common in submerged habitats with stationary or slowly flowing water, and their greatest areal extent is in coating plant stems and sediments in wet sedge meadows. Some Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) produce easily recognized sheath or stalk morphotypes that were present and dominant in all the mats we observed. The cool water temperatures (9 to 11°C) and reduced pH (5.0 to 6.6) at all sites kinetically favor microbial iron oxidation. A microbial survey of five sites based on 16S rRNA genes found a predominance of Proteobacteria, with Betaproteobacteria and members of the family Comamonadaceae being the most prevalent operational taxonomic units (OTUs). In relative abundance, clades of lithotrophic FeOB composed 5 to 10% of the communities. OTUs related to cyanobacteria and chloroplasts accounted for 3 to 25% of the communities. Oxygen profiles showed evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis at the surface of some mats, indicating the coexistence of photosynthetic and FeOB populations. The relative abundance of OTUs belonging to putative Fe-reducing bacteria (FeRB) averaged around 11% in the sampled iron mats. Mats incubated anaerobically with 10 mM acetate rapidly initiated Fe reduction, indicating that active iron cycling is likely. The prevalence of iron mats on the tundra might impact the carbon cycle through lithoautotrophic chemosynthesis, anaerobic respiration of organic carbon coupled to iron reduction, and the suppression of methanogenesis, and it potentially influences phosphorus dynamics through the adsorption of phosphorus to iron oxides. PMID:26386054

  1. Late Pleistocene paleoecology of arctic ground squirrel ( Urocitellus parryii) caches and nests from Interior Alaska's mammoth steppe ecosystem, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaglioti, Benjamin V.; Barnes, Brian M.; Zazula, Grant D.; Beaudoin, Alwynne B.; Wooller, Matthew J.

    2011-11-01

    Botanical analyses of fossil and modern arctic ground squirrel ( Urocitellus parryii) caches and nests have been used to reconstruct the past vegetation from some parts of Beringia, but such archives are understudied in Alaska. Five modern and four fossil samples from arctic ground squirrel caches and nests provide information on late Pleistocene vegetation in Eastern Beringia. Modern arctic ground squirrel caches from Alaska's arctic tundra were dominated by willow and grass leaves and grass seeds and bearberries, which were widespread in the local vegetation as confirmed by vegetation surveys. Late Pleistocene caches from Interior Alaska were primarily composed of steppe and dry tundra graminoid and herb seeds. Graminoid cuticle analysis of fossil leaves identified Calamagrostis canadensis, Koeleria sp. and Carex albonigra as being common in the fossil samples. Stable carbon isotopes analysis of these graminoid specimens indicated that plants using the C 3 photosynthetic pathways were present and functioning with medium to high water-use efficiency. Fossil plant taxa and environments from ground squirrel caches in Alaska are similar to other macrofossil assemblages from the Yukon Territory, which supports the existence of a widespread mammoth steppe ecosystem type in Eastern Beringia that persisted throughout much of the late Pleistocene.

  2. Assessing the Utility of Alternate Digital Image Color Space for Deriving Phenological Dynamics in a High-Arctic Tundra Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vargas, S. A., Jr.; Oberbauer, S. F.; Ramirez, G.; Ramirez, G. A.; Tweedie, C. E.; Hollister, R. D.; Escarzaga, S. M.; Ochoa, E.

    2015-12-01

    The need to improve the spatial and temporal scaling and extrapolation of plot level ecosystem properties and processes to the landscape level remains a persistent research challenge in the Arctic. Plant and landscape phenology is sensitive to a number of spatiotemporally variable environmental factors such as soil moisture, temperature, and radiation. Seasonal and inter-annual differences in phenology can affect surface energy balance and land-atmosphere carbon flux. Considering the relative importance of the Arctic to global carbon balance, improved scaling and extrapolation of phenological dynamics from the plot level to the landscape level is important for advancing our understanding of the impact of climate and other environmental change in arctic terrestrial ecosystems. Seasonal and interannual landscape phenology was observed over the Mobile Instrumented Sensor Platform (MISP) grid (2 x 50 meters) located in Barrow and Atqasuk, Alaska using imagery acquired from kite aerial photography (KAP), a hyperspectral ground-based spectrometer, and a phenocam. These data were analyzed in RGB and non-traditional HSV and l*a*b*color spaces to determine site, plant community seasonal, and inter annual phenological dynamics. Results were also compared to high spatial resolution satellite imagery to determine optimal indices for scaling vegetation dynamics from plot to landscape level. These results show that greenness indices similar to those acquired from hyperspectral remote sensing platforms can be derived using low-cost and low-tech techniques that could be deployed at multiple sites at low cost.

  3. The Role of Microbial Biofilms as Ecosystem Engineers in Streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battin, T. I.; Battin, T. I.; Kaplan, L. A.; Newbold, J. D.

    2001-12-01

    Microbial biofilms growing on and through the surface of streambeds physically alter the interface between the water column and benthic zone and influence the biogeochemistry within the steambed and hyporheic zone. We monitored the development of biofilms within stream-side flumes, and were able to relate changes in biofilm structure to concomitant changes in hydrodynamics, particle deposition, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) uptake. Biofilm development was assessed by measurements of ash free dry mass, bacterial density, concentrations of chlorophyll a and exopolysaccharides, and confocal microscopy of fluorescent-stained biotic and abiotic assemblages. The microbial biofilms were followed through an initial colonization period, the development of mm-thick mats that included streamers undulating in the current, and the eventual erosion and sloughing of these structural features. As the biofilms matured, hydrologic exchange rate, transient storage capacity, and particle deposition rates increased, reached a plateau, and eventually declined. The uptake of glucose and arabinose, added in nM concentrations to the flumes, showed a preferential uptake of glucose over arabinose. However, as the biofilms grew, the differences between the uptake of these two saccharides declined. This change is consistent with a shift in the rate-limiting step for DOC uptake from internal biofilm processes to greater diffusion-limitation as biofilm thickness, and thus the diffusion barrier, increased. We suggest that microscale processes, which alter biofilm structure, in turn alter large-scale physical and biogeochemical processes, including streamwater/subsurface hydrodynamics and organic matter fluxes.

  4. Limits of Microbial Photosynthesis in Hot Spring Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cox, A. D.; Shock, E. L.

    2003-12-01

    The limits of microbial photosynthesis are determined by many environmental factors including light availability, temperature, pH, flow rate, nutrient abundance, chemical composition and the presence or absence of other microorganisms. In an effort to determine which factors have the greatest influence on the limits of photosynthesis, we conducted a field study in the summer of 2003 at Yellowstone National Park. At more than 75 locations temperature, pH, conductivity, and sulfide measurements were made in the field, and at many of these locations samples were collected for major and trace element measurements and organic analyses. Temperatures ranged from 32 to 93° C, conductivities from 790 to 11500μ S, in situ pH from 1.87 to 8.97, and total sulfide concentrations from 1850μ g L-1 to below detection ( ˜2μ g L-1). These data indicate that the previously established upper temperature limit for photosynthesis of 73° C is reached in many alkaline hot springs, but that upper temperature limits decrease with decreasing pH below ˜7. As an example, we found no strong evidence for photosynthesis above 45° C at pH ˜2. In several locations, photosynthesis appears to be suppressed despite temperatures and pH values that permit photosynthesis elsewhere. Preliminary results indicate that salinity variations are not responsible for suppression of photosynthesis, but that sulfide concentrations may be. Studies of five hot spring outflow channels, together spanning pH values from 2.5 to 8.6, show that photosynthesis appears once sulfide concentrations drop to < 20% of the source values. In one channel where total sulfide varies by only a factor of two over more than 100 m of flow, we found no evidence of photosynthesis despite temperatures ranging from 60 to 35° C and mild pH values of 5.8 to 6.5. These observations lead us to propose that photosynthesis becomes possible after a large decrease in initial sulfide concentration. Although abiotic processes (degassing

  5. Soil Microbial Communities across a Chronosequence of Drained Lake Basins in the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kao-Kniffin, J.; Bockheim, J.; Mueller, C. W.; Hinkel, K. M.

    2012-12-01

    The Arctic Coastal Plain landscape is comprised of approximately 25% drained lake basins spanning a continuum of geologic succession that provides the basis for an analysis of biologic change in soil on a millennial temporal scale. We examined patterns in soil carbon and microbial community composition across a 5,000-yr succession of these lake basins near Barrow, Alaska. Soil properties such as depth, pH, soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, C:N ratio, and bulk density, were related to microbial community composition and abundance. Non-metric multidimensional scaling indicated that soil microbial community composition was distinguishable between basins at the two extremes of the chronosequence (youngest and most ancient). In the youngest basins, organic carbon levels were positively correlated with abundance of gram-positive bacteria and saprotrophic fungi, whereas in the oldest basins carbon levels were associated only with gram-positive bacteria. In contrast, soil pH was negatively correlated with abundance of gram-positive bacteria and saprotrophic fungi. Surprisingly, the proportions of bacteria and fungi remained constant across the basin successional gradient with soil depth (up to 117 cm) and between the active layer and permafrost, although the total microbial biomass was 1.6-fold higher in the active layer. Cryoturbation in permafrost landscapes could be maintaining local homogeneity of the microbial community across the horizons sampled through mixing of materials across soil horizons. The results of this study indicate that the developmental time of drained lake basins impacts the community structure of major microbial groups, while soil depth influences microbial biomass. Examining the biomass distribution of active microorganisms across the chronosequence and at soil depth could help us better understand how different microbial groups respond to warming temperatures in the Arctic Coastal Plain.

  6. Microbial diversity and activity through a permafrost/ground ice core profile from the Canadian high Arctic.

    PubMed

    Steven, Blaire; Pollard, Wayne H; Greer, Charles W; Whyte, Lyle G

    2008-12-01

    Culture-dependent and culture-independent methods were used in an investigation of the microbial diversity in a permafrost/massive ground ice core from the Canadian high Arctic. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis as well as Bacteria and Archaea 16S rRNA gene clone libraries showed differences in the composition of the microbial communities in the distinct core horizons. Microbial diversity was similar in the active layer (surface) soil, permafrost table and permafrost horizons while the ground ice microbial community showed low diversity. Bacteria and Archaea sequences related to the Actinobacteria (54%) and Crenarchaeota (100%) respectively were predominant in the active layer while the majority of sequences in the permafrost were related to the Proteobacteria (57%) and Euryarchaeota (76%). The most abundant phyla in the ground ice clone libraries were the Firmicutes (59%) and Crenarchaeota (82%). Isolates from the permafrost were both less abundant and diverse than in the active layer soil, while no culturable cells were recovered from the ground ice. Mineralization of [1-(14)C] acetic acid and [2-(14)C] glucose was used to detect microbial activity in the different horizons in the core. Mineralization was detected at near ambient permafrost temperatures (-15 degrees C), indicating that permafrost may harbour an active microbial population, while the low microbial diversity, abundance and activity in ground ice suggests a less hospitable microbial habitat.

  7. Evidence against hydrogen-based microbial ecosystems in basalt aquifers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, R.T.; Chapelle, F.H.; Lovley, D.R.

    1998-01-01

    It has been proposed that hydrogen produced from basalt-ground-water interactions may serve as an energy source that supports the existence of microorganisms in the deep subsurface on Earth and possibly on other planets. However, experiments demonstrated that hydrogen is not produced from basalt at an environmentally relevant, alkaline pH. Small amounts of hydrogen were produced at a lower pH in laboratory incubations, but even this hydrogen production was transitory. Furthermore, geochemical considerations suggest that previously reported rates of hydrogen production cannot be sustained over geologically significant time frames. These findings indicate that hydrogen production from basalt-ground-water interactions may not support microbial metabolism in the subsurface.

  8. Evidence against hydrogen-based microbial ecosystems in basalt aquifers

    PubMed

    Anderson; Chapelle; Lovley

    1998-08-14

    It has been proposed that hydrogen produced from basalt-ground-water interactions may serve as an energy source that supports the existence of microorganisms in the deep subsurface on Earth and possibly on other planets. However, experiments demonstrated that hydrogen is not produced from basalt at an environmentally relevant, alkaline pH. Small amounts of hydrogen were produced at a lower pH in laboratory incubations, but even this hydrogen production was transitory. Furthermore, geochemical considerations suggest that previously reported rates of hydrogen production cannot be sustained over geologically significant time frames. These findings indicate that hydrogen production from basalt-ground-water interactions may not support microbial metabolism in the subsurface.

  9. Canopy Spectral Imaging (NDVI) As A Proxy For Shrub Biomass And Ecosystem Carbon Fluxes Across Arctic Tundra Habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flower, C. E.; Welker, J. M.; Gonzalez-Meler, M. A.

    2015-12-01

    There is widespread consensus that climate change is contributing to rapid vegetation shifts in the ecologically sensitive Arctic tundra. These tussock grass dominated systems are shifting to tussock/woody shrub communities leading to likely alterations in carbon (C) sequestration and ecosystem productivity, which in turn can manifest in "greening" and changes in normalized difference vegetation index values (NDVI). While the expansion of woody vegetation is well established, our understanding of the ecosystem dynamics associated with this new habitat remain largely unknown. To untangle how the Arctic tundra may be impacted by these vegetation shifts we paired vegetation measurements (i.e. shrub biomass, leaf area, and shrub canopy area) and ecosystem C fluxes (e.g. net ecosystem exchange, NEE, and ecosystem respiration) with ground-level measurements of NDVI. Measurements were conducted at the Toolik Field Station in dry heath and moist acidic tundra habitats which are two primary habitat types on the North Slope of Alaska. We found strong positive relationships between shrub leaf area and biomass as well as shrub canopy area and biomass, relationships that were corroborated with NDVI measurements. This lends support for the use of NDVI as a proxy measurement of leaf area and shrub biomass. Additionally, NDVI was negatively correlated with ecosystem respiration across habitats, with respiratory fluxes consistently higher in the moist acidic relative to the dry heath tundra. Finally, we observed a significant positive nonlinear relationship between NEE and NDVI (R2~0.8; P<0.01). Shrub removal revealed that NEE was strongly controlled by woody shrubs. The positive relationship between NDVI and NEE highlights the potential shifts in the C balance of the Arctic tundra associated with woody encroachment. This increased plant productivity may offset greenhouse gas losses from permafrost degradation contributing some resilience to this system otherwise considered a

  10. Leaf and fine root carbon stocks and turnover are coupled across Arctic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sloan, Victoria L; Fletcher, Benjamin J; Press, Malcolm C; Williams, Mathew; Phoenix, Gareth K

    2013-12-01

    Estimates of vegetation carbon pools and their turnover rates are central to understanding and modelling ecosystem responses to climate change and their feedbacks to climate. In the Arctic, a region containing globally important stores of soil carbon, and where the most rapid climate change is expected over the coming century, plant communities have on average sixfold more biomass below ground than above ground, but knowledge of the root carbon pool sizes and turnover rates is limited. Here, we show that across eight plant communities, there is a significant positive relationship between leaf and fine root turnover rates (r(2) = 0.68, P < 0.05), and that the turnover rates of both leaf (r(2) = 0.63, P < 0.05) and fine root (r(2) = 0.55, P < 0.05) pools are strongly correlated with leaf area index (LAI, leaf area per unit ground area). This coupling of root and leaf dynamics supports the theory of a whole-plant economics spectrum. We also show that the size of the fine root carbon pool initially increases linearly with increasing LAI, and then levels off at LAI = 1 m(2) m(-2), suggesting a functional balance between investment in leaves and fine roots at the whole community scale. These ecological relationships not only demonstrate close links between above and below-ground plant carbon dynamics but also allow plant carbon pool sizes and their turnover rates to be predicted from the single readily quantifiable (and remotely sensed) parameter of LAI, including the possibility of estimating root data from satellites.

  11. Novel wildlife in the Arctic: the influence of changing riparian ecosystems and shrub habitat expansion on snowshoe hares.

    PubMed

    Tape, Ken D; Christie, Katie; Carroll, Geoff; O'Donnell, Jonathan A

    2016-01-01

    Warming during the 20th century has changed the arctic landscape, including aspects of the hydrology, vegetation, permafrost, and glaciers, but effects on wildlife have been difficult to detect. The primary aim of this study is to examine the physical and biological processes contributing to the expanded riparian habitat and range of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) in northern Alaska. We explore linkages between components of the riparian ecosystem in Arctic Alaska since the 1960s, including seasonality of stream flow, air temperature, floodplain shrub habitat, and snowshoe hare distributions. Our analyses show that the peak discharge during spring snowmelt has occurred on average 3.4 days per decade earlier over the last 30 years and has contributed to a longer growing season in floodplain ecosystems. We use empirical correlations between cumulative summer warmth and riparian shrub height to reconstruct annual changes in shrub height from the 1960s to the present. The effects of longer and warmer growing seasons are estimated to have stimulated a 78% increase in the height of riparian shrubs. Earlier spring discharge and the estimated increase in riparian shrub height are consistent with observed riparian shrub expansion in the region. Our browsing measurements show that snowshoe hares require a mean riparian shrub height of at least 1.24-1.36 m, a threshold which our hindcasting indicates was met between 1964 and 1989. This generally coincides with observational evidence we present suggesting that snowshoe hares became established in 1977 or 1978. Warming and expanded shrub habitat is the most plausible reason for recent snowshoe hare establishment in Arctic Alaska. The establishment of snowshoe hares and other shrub herbivores in the Arctic in response to increasing shrub habitat is a contrasting terrestrial counterpart to the decline in marine mammals reliant on decreasing sea ice.

  12. Bridging Time Scales, Disciplines, and Generations to Better Understand the Arctic Marine Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forest, Alexandre; Kedra, Monika; Pavlov, Alexey

    2013-03-01

    Understanding and predicting how ecological and biogeochemical processes in the Arctic Ocean are affected by global changes require an integrated approach. Modifications in the Arctic system may feed back to the Earth's climate, and shifts in food web functions could affect the people who depend on marine resources. Connecting information obtained along the circum-Arctic, across disciplines and time scales as well as over generations, is thus key to gaining new insights on the interactions that drive the mechanics of change (Arctic in Rapid Transition Implementation Plan; http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/ART/implementation-plan). Such a framework is needed if the linkages between atmosphere-ice-ocean forcing, land-ocean exchanges, biodiversity, and the productive capacity of the Arctic Ocean are to be properly understood.

  13. Differential allocation of carbon in mosses and grasses governs ecosystem sequestration: a 13C tracer study in the high Arctic.

    PubMed

    Woodin, S J; van der Wal, R; Sommerkorn, M; Gornall, J L

    2009-12-01

    *This study investigates the influence of vegetation composition on carbon (C) sequestration in a moss-dominated ecosystem in the Arctic. *A (13)C labelling study in an arctic wet meadow was used to trace assimilate into C pools of differing recalcitrance within grasses and mosses and to determine the retention of C by these plant groups. *Moss retained 70% of assimilated (13)C over the month following labelling, which represented half the growing season. By contrast, the vascular plants, comprising mostly grasses, retained only 40%. The mechanism underlying this was that moss allocated 80% of the (13)C to recalcitrant C pools, a much higher proportion than in grasses (56%). *This method enabled elucidation of a plant trait that will influence decomposition and hence persistence of assimilated C in the ecosystem. We predict that moss-dominated vegetation will retain sequestered C more strongly than a grass-dominated community. Given the strong environmental drivers that are causing a shift from moss to grass dominance, this is likely to result in a reduction in future ecosystem C sink strength.

  14. Long-term preservation of microbial ecosystems in permafrost

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilichinsky, D. A.; Vorobyova, E. A.; Erokhina, L. G.; Fyordorov-Dayvdov, D. G.; Chaikovskaya, N. R.

    It has been established that significant numbers (up to 10 million cells per gram of sample) of living microorganisms of various ecological and morphological groups have been preserved under permafrost conditions, at temperatures ranging from -9 to -13°C and depths of up to 100 m, for thousands and sometimes millions of years. Preserved since the formation of permafrost in sand-clay sediments of the Pliocene-Quaternary period and in paleosols and peats buried among them, these cells are the only living organisms that have survived for a geologically significant period of time. The complexity of the microbial community preserved varies with the age of the permafrost. Eukaryotes are found only in Holocene sediments; while prokaryotes are found to greater ages, i.e., Pliocene and Pleistocene. The diversity of microorganisms decreases with increasing age of sediments, and as a result cocci and corynebacteria are predominant. Enzyme activity (catalase and hydrolytic enzymes) and photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll and pheophytin have also been detected in permafrost sediments. These results permit us to outline some approaches to the search for traces of life in the permafrost of Martian sediments by borehole core sampling. It is in the deep horizons (and not on the planet surface), isolated by permafrost from the external conditions, that results similar to those obtained on Earth can be expected.

  15. Iron isotope geochemistry in the Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, H.

    2002-05-01

    The stable isotope composition of iron is a potentially powerful tracer of biogeochemical cycles because iron is ubiquitous, it is required by all organisms, and it is resistant to alterations during diagenesis. Here we report evidence of biological iron isotope fractionation in the weathering process of sandstone in McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, caused by the cryptoendolithic lichen-dominated microbial community that live below the rock surface. The fungi secrete oxalic acid, which under the sunlight reduces and dissolves the iron in the colonized zone. The mobilized iron diffuses to the rock surface and the rock interior below the organisms where it is re-oxidized. This leaching process is shown to prefer lighter isotopes of iron, leaving the colonized layer enriched in del 56Fe by as much 0.8 per mil. Had endolithic microorganisms occurred on Mars as commonly believed, they might have left similar iron biosignatures, well preserved in rocks because of the absence of subsequent aqueous activities.

  16. Microbial characterization of microbial ecosystems associated to evaporites domes of gypsum in Salar de Llamara in Atacama desert.

    PubMed

    Rasuk, Maria Cecilia; Kurth, Daniel; Flores, Maria Regina; Contreras, Manuel; Novoa, Fernando; Poire, Daniel; Farias, Maria Eugenia

    2014-10-01

    The Central Andes in northern Chile contains a large number of closed basins whose central depression is occupied by saline lakes and salt crusts (salars). One of these basins is Salar de Llamara (850 m a.s.l.), where large domed structures of seemingly evaporitic origin forming domes can be found. In this work, we performed a detailed microbial characterization of these domes. Mineralogical studies revealed gypsum (CaSO(4)) as a major component. Microbial communities associated to these structures were analysed by 454 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing and compared between winter and summer seasons. Bacteroidetes Proteobacteria and Planctomycetes remained as the main phylogenetic groups, an increased diversity was found in winter. Comparison of the upper air-exposed part and the lower water-submerged part of the domes in both seasons showed little variation in the upper zone, showing a predominance of Chromatiales (Gammaproteobacteria), Rhodospirillales (Alphaproteobacteria), and Sphingobacteriales (Bacteroidetes). However, the submerged part showed marked differences between seasons, being dominated by Proteobacteria (Alpha and Gamma) and Verrucomicrobia in summer, but with more diverse phyla found in winter. Even though not abundant by sequence, Cyanobacteria were visually identified by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), which also revealed the presence of diatoms. Photosynthetic pigments were detected by high-performance liquid chromatography, being more diverse on the upper photosynthetic layer. Finally, the system was compared with other endoevaporite, mats microbialite and Stromatolites microbial ecosystems, showing higher similitude with evaporitic ecosystems from Atacama and Guerrero Negro. This environment is of special interest for extremophile studies because microbial life develops associated to minerals in the driest desert all over the world. Nevertheless, it is endangered by mining activity associated to copper and lithium extraction; thus, its

  17. Uncoupling of microbial community structure and function in decomposing litter across beech forest ecosystems in Central Europe.

    PubMed

    Purahong, Witoon; Schloter, Michael; Pecyna, Marek J; Kapturska, Danuta; Däumlich, Veronika; Mital, Sanchit; Buscot, François; Hofrichter, Martin; Gutknecht, Jessica L M; Krüger, Dirk

    2014-11-12

    The widespread paradigm in ecology that community structure determines function has recently been challenged by the high complexity of microbial communities. Here, we investigate the patterns of and connections between microbial community structure and microbially-mediated ecological function across different forest management practices and temporal changes in leaf litter across beech forest ecosystems in Central Europe. Our results clearly indicate distinct pattern of microbial community structure in response to forest management and time. However, those patterns were not reflected when potential enzymatic activities of microbes were measured. We postulate that in our forest ecosystems, a disconnect between microbial community structure and function may be present due to differences between the drivers of microbial growth and those of microbial function.

  18. Microbial characterization of a subzero, hypersaline methane seep in the Canadian High Arctic.

    PubMed

    Niederberger, Thomas D; Perreault, Nancy N; Tille, Stephanie; Lollar, Barbara Sherwood; Lacrampe-Couloume, Georges; Andersen, Dale; Greer, Charles W; Pollard, Wayne; Whyte, Lyle G

    2010-10-01

    We report the first microbiological characterization of a terrestrial methane seep in a cryo-environment in the form of an Arctic hypersaline (∼24% salinity), subzero (-5 °C), perennial spring, arising through thick permafrost in an area with an average annual air temperature of -15 °C. Bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene clone libraries indicated a relatively low diversity of phylotypes within the spring sediment (Shannon index values of 1.65 and 1.39, respectively). Bacterial phylotypes were related to microorganisms such as Loktanella, Gillisia, Halomonas and Marinobacter spp. previously recovered from cold, saline habitats. A proportion of the bacterial phylotypes were cultured, including Marinobacter and Halomonas, with all isolates capable of growth at the in situ temperature (-5 °C). Archaeal phylotypes were related to signatures from hypersaline deep-sea methane-seep sediments and were dominated by the anaerobic methane group 1a (ANME-1a) clade of anaerobic methane oxidizing archaea. CARD-FISH analyses indicated that cells within the spring sediment consisted of ∼84.0% bacterial and 3.8% archaeal cells with ANME-1 cells accounting for most of the archaeal cells. The major gas discharging from the spring was methane (∼50%) with the low CH(4)/C(2+) ratio and hydrogen and carbon isotope signatures consistent with a thermogenic origin of the methane. Overall, this hypersaline, subzero environment supports a viable microbial community capable of activity at in situ temperature and where methane may behave as an energy and carbon source for sustaining anaerobic oxidation of methane-based microbial metabolism. This site also provides a model of how a methane seep can form in a cryo-environment as well as a mechanism for the hypothesized Martian methane plumes.

  19. Microbial ecology of the watery ecosystems of Evros river in North Eastern Greece and its influence upon the cultivated soil ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Vavias, S; Alexopoulos, A; Plessas, S; Stefanis, C; Voidarou, C; Stavropoulou, E; Bezirtzoglou, E

    2011-12-01

    The aim of the present study was to evaluate the microbial ecosystem of cultivated soils along the Evros river in NE Greece. Evros river together with its derivative rivers constitute the capital source of life and sustainable development of the area. Along this riverside watery ecosystem systematic agro-cultures were developed such as wheat, corn and vegetable cultures. The evaluation of the ecosystem microbial charge was conducted in both axes which are the watery ecosystem and the riverside cultivated soil area. Considerable discrimination of water quality was observed when considering chemical and microbiological parameters of the Evros river ecosystem. Ardas river possesses a better water quality than Evros and Erythropotamos, which is mainly due to the higher quantities that these two rivers accumulate from industrial, farming and urban residues leading to higher degree of pollution. An increased microbial pollution was recorded in two of the three rivers monitored and a direct relation in microbial and chemical charging between water and cultivated-soil ecosystems was observed. The protection of these ecosystems with appropriate cultivated practices and control of human and animal activities will define the homeostasis of the environmental area.

  20. Rapid evolution buffers ecosystem impacts of viruses in a microbial food web.

    PubMed

    Lennon, Jay T; Martiny, Jennifer B H

    2008-11-01

    Predation and parasitism often regulate population dynamics, community interactions, and ecosystem functioning. The strength of these top-down pressures is variable, however, and may be influenced by both ecological and evolutionary processes. We conducted a chemostat experiment to assess the direct and indirect effects of viruses on a marine microbial food web comprised of an autotrophic host (Synechococcus) and non-target heterotrophic bacteria. Viruses dramatically altered the host population dynamics, which in turn influenced phosphorus resource availability and the stoichiometric allocation of nutrients into microbial biomass. These virus effects diminished with time, but could not be attributed to changes in the abundance or composition of heterotrophic bacteria. Instead, attenuation of the virus effects coincided with the detection of resistant host phenotypes, suggesting that rapid evolution buffered the effect of viruses on nutrient cycling. Our results demonstrate that evolutionary processes are important for community dynamics and ecosystem processes on ecologically relevant time scales.

  1. Microbial community structure of Arctic multiyear sea ice and surface seawater by 454 sequencing of the 16S RNA gene.

    PubMed

    Bowman, Jeff S; Rasmussen, Simon; Blom, Nikolaj; Deming, Jody W; Rysgaard, Søren; Sicheritz-Ponten, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Dramatic decreases in the extent of Arctic multiyear ice (MYI) suggest this environment may disappear as early as 2100, replaced by ecologically different first-year ice. To better understand the implications of this loss on microbial biodiversity, we undertook a detailed census of the microbial community in MYI at two sites near the geographic North Pole using parallel tag sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Although the composition of the MYI microbial community has been characterized by previous studies, microbial community structure has not been. Although richness was lower in MYI than in underlying surface water, we found diversity to be comparable using the Simpson and Shannon's indices (for Simpson t=0.65, P=0.56; for Shannon t=0.25, P=0.84 for a Student's t-test of mean values). Cyanobacteria, comprising 6.8% of reads obtained from MYI, were observed for the first time in Arctic sea ice. In addition, several low-abundance clades not previously reported in sea ice were present, including the phylum TM7 and the classes Spartobacteria and Opitutae. Members of Coraliomargarita, a recently described genus of the class Opitutae, were present in sufficient numbers to suggest niche occupation within MYI.

  2. Convergence of microbial assimilations of soil carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur in terrestrial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xiaofeng; Hui, Dafeng; King, Anthony W; Song, Xia; Thornton, Peter E; Zhang, Lihua

    2015-11-27

    How soil microbes assimilate carbon-C, nitrogen-N, phosphorus-P, and sulfur-S is fundamental for understanding nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. We compiled a global database of C, N, P, and S concentrations in soils and microbes and developed relationships between them by using a power function model. The C:N:P:S was estimated to be 287:17:1:0.8 for soils, and 42:6:1:0.4 for microbes. We found a convergence of the relationships between elements in soils and in soil microbial biomass across C, N, P, and S. The element concentrations in soil microbial biomass follow a homeostatic regulation curve with soil element concentrations across C, N, P and S, implying a unifying mechanism of microbial assimilating soil elements. This correlation explains the well-constrained C:N:P:S stoichiometry with a slightly larger variation in soils than in microbial biomass. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the minimum requirements of soil elements for soil microbes are 0.8 mmol C Kg(-1) dry soil, 0.1 mmol N Kg(-1) dry soil, 0.1 mmol P Kg(-1) dry soil, and 0.1 mmol S Kg(-1) dry soil, respectively. These findings provide a mathematical explanation of element imbalance in soils and soil microbial biomass, and offer insights for incorporating microbial contribution to nutrient cycling into Earth system models.

  3. Convergence of microbial assimilations of soil carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur in terrestrial ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Xiaofeng; Hui, Dafeng; King, Anthony W.; Song, Xia; Thornton, Peter E.; Zhang, Lihua

    2015-01-01

    How soil microbes assimilate carbon-C, nitrogen-N, phosphorus-P, and sulfur-S is fundamental for understanding nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. We compiled a global database of C, N, P, and S concentrations in soils and microbes and developed relationships between them by using a power function model. The C:N:P:S was estimated to be 287:17:1:0.8 for soils, and 42:6:1:0.4 for microbes. We found a convergence of the relationships between elements in soils and in soil microbial biomass across C, N, P, and S. The element concentrations in soil microbial biomass follow a homeostatic regulation curve with soil element concentrations across C, N, P and S, implying a unifying mechanism of microbial assimilating soil elements. This correlation explains the well-constrained C:N:P:S stoichiometry with a slightly larger variation in soils than in microbial biomass. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the minimum requirements of soil elements for soil microbes are 0.8 mmol C Kg−1 dry soil, 0.1 mmol N Kg−1 dry soil, 0.1 mmol P Kg−1 dry soil, and 0.1 mmol S Kg−1 dry soil, respectively. These findings provide a mathematical explanation of element imbalance in soils and soil microbial biomass, and offer insights for incorporating microbial contribution to nutrient cycling into Earth system models. PMID:26612423

  4. Mapping microbial ecosystems and spoilage-gene flow in breweries highlights patterns of contamination and resistance

    PubMed Central

    Bokulich, Nicholas A; Bergsveinson, Jordyn; Ziola, Barry; Mills, David A

    2015-01-01

    Distinct microbial ecosystems have evolved to meet the challenges of indoor environments, shaping the microbial communities that interact most with modern human activities. Microbial transmission in food-processing facilities has an enormous impact on the qualities and healthfulness of foods, beneficially or detrimentally interacting with food products. To explore modes of microbial transmission and spoilage-gene frequency in a commercial food-production scenario, we profiled hop-resistance gene frequencies and bacterial and fungal communities in a brewery. We employed a Bayesian approach for predicting routes of contamination, revealing critical control points for microbial management. Physically mapping microbial populations over time illustrates patterns of dispersal and identifies potential contaminant reservoirs within this environment. Habitual exposure to beer is associated with increased abundance of spoilage genes, predicting greater contamination risk. Elucidating the genetic landscapes of indoor environments poses important practical implications for food-production systems and these concepts are translatable to other built environments. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04634.001 PMID:25756611

  5. Convergence of microbial assimilations of soil carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur in terrestrial ecosystems

    DOE PAGES

    Xu, Xiaofeng; Hui, Dafeng; King, Anthony Wayne; ...

    2015-11-27

    How soil microbes assimilate carbon-C, nitrogen-N, phosphorus-P, and sulfur-S is fundamental for understanding nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. We compiled a global database of C, N, P, and S concentrations in soils and microbes and developed relationships between them by using a power function model. The C:N:P:S was estimated to be 287:17:1:0.8 for soils, and 42:6:1:0.4 for microbes. We found a convergence of the relationships between elements in soils and in soil microbial biomass across C, N, P, and S. The element concentrations in soil microbial biomass follow a homeostatic regulation curve with soil element concentrations across C, N, Pmore » and S, implying a unifying mechanism of microbial assimilating soil elements. This correlation explains the well-constrained C:N:P:S stoichiometry with a slightly larger variation in soils than in microbial biomass. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the minimum requirements of soil elements for soil microbes are 0.8 mmol C Kg–1 dry soil, 0.1 mmol N Kg–1 dry soil, 0.1 mmol P Kg–1 dry soil, and 0.1 mmol S Kg–1 dry soil, respectively. Lastly, these findings provide a mathematical explanation of element imbalance in soils and soil microbial biomass, and offer insights for incorporating microbial contribution to nutrient cycling into Earth system models.« less

  6. Convergence of microbial assimilations of soil carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur in terrestrial ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Xu, Xiaofeng; Hui, Dafeng; King, Anthony Wayne; Song, Xia; Thornton, Peter E.; Zhang, Lihua

    2015-11-27

    How soil microbes assimilate carbon-C, nitrogen-N, phosphorus-P, and sulfur-S is fundamental for understanding nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. We compiled a global database of C, N, P, and S concentrations in soils and microbes and developed relationships between them by using a power function model. The C:N:P:S was estimated to be 287:17:1:0.8 for soils, and 42:6:1:0.4 for microbes. We found a convergence of the relationships between elements in soils and in soil microbial biomass across C, N, P, and S. The element concentrations in soil microbial biomass follow a homeostatic regulation curve with soil element concentrations across C, N, P and S, implying a unifying mechanism of microbial assimilating soil elements. This correlation explains the well-constrained C:N:P:S stoichiometry with a slightly larger variation in soils than in microbial biomass. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the minimum requirements of soil elements for soil microbes are 0.8 mmol C Kg–1 dry soil, 0.1 mmol N Kg–1 dry soil, 0.1 mmol P Kg–1 dry soil, and 0.1 mmol S Kg–1 dry soil, respectively. Lastly, these findings provide a mathematical explanation of element imbalance in soils and soil microbial biomass, and offer insights for incorporating microbial contribution to nutrient cycling into Earth system models.

  7. Effects of soil organic matter properties and microbial community composition on enzyme activities in cryoturbated arctic soils.

    PubMed

    Schnecker, Jörg; Wild, Birgit; Hofhansl, Florian; Eloy Alves, Ricardo J; Bárta, Jiří; Capek, Petr; Fuchslueger, Lucia; Gentsch, Norman; Gittel, Antje; Guggenberger, Georg; Hofer, Angelika; Kienzl, Sandra; Knoltsch, Anna; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Mikutta, Robert; Santrůčková, Hana; Shibistova, Olga; Takriti, Mounir; Urich, Tim; Weltin, Georg; Richter, Andreas

    2014-01-01

    Enzyme-mediated decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) is controlled, amongst other factors, by organic matter properties and by the microbial decomposer community present. Since microbial community composition and SOM properties are often interrelated and both change with soil depth, the drivers of enzymatic decomposition are hard to dissect. We investigated soils from three regions in the Siberian Arctic, where carbon rich topsoil material has been incorporated into the subsoil (cryoturbation). We took advantage of this subduction to test if SOM properties shape microbial community composition, and to identify controls of both on enzyme activities. We found that microbial community composition (estimated by phospholipid fatty acid analysis), was similar in cryoturbated material and in surrounding subsoil, although carbon and nitrogen contents were similar in cryoturbated material and topsoils. This suggests that the microbial community in cryoturbated material was not well adapted to SOM properties. We also measured three potential enzyme activities (cellobiohydrolase, leucine-amino-peptidase and phenoloxidase) and used structural equation models (SEMs) to identify direct and indirect drivers of the three enzyme activities. The models included microbial community composition, carbon and nitrogen contents, clay content, water content, and pH. Models for regular horizons, excluding cryoturbated material, showed that all enzyme activities were mainly controlled by carbon or nitrogen. Microbial community composition had no effect. In contrast, models for cryoturbated material showed that enzyme activities were also related to microbial community composition. The additional control of microbial community composition could have restrained enzyme activities and furthermore decomposition in general. The functional decoupling of SOM properties and microbial community composition might thus be one of the reasons for low decomposition rates and the persistence of 400 Gt

  8. The Barents and Chukchi Seas: Comparison of two Arctic shelf ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunt, George L.; Blanchard, Arny L.; Boveng, Peter; Dalpadado, Padmini; Drinkwater, Kenneth F.; Eisner, Lisa; Hopcroft, Russ R.; Kovacs, Kit M.; Norcross, Brenda L.; Renaud, Paul; Reigstad, Marit; Renner, Martin; Skjoldal, Hein Rune; Whitehouse, Andy; Woodgate, Rebecca A.

    2013-01-01

    This paper compares and contrasts the ecosystems of the Barents and Chukchi Seas. Despite their similarity in a number of features, the Barents Sea supports a vast biomass of commercially important fish, but the Chukchi does not. Here we examine a number of aspects of these two seas to ascertain how they are similar and how they differ. We then indentify processes and mechanisms that may be responsible for their similarities and differences. Both the Barents and Chukchi Seas are high latitude, seasonally ice covered, Arctic shelf-seas. Both have strongly advective regimes, and receive water from the south. Water entering the Barents comes from the deep, ice-free and "warm" Norwegian Sea, and contains not only heat, but also a rich supply of zooplankton that supports larval fish in spring. In contrast, Bering Sea water entering the Chukchi in spring and early summer is cold. In spring, this Bering Sea water is depleted of large, lipid-rich zooplankton, thus likely resulting in a relatively low availability of zooplankton for fish. Although primary production on average is similar in the two seas, fish biomass density is an order of magnitude greater in the Barents than in the Chukchi Sea. The Barents Sea supports immense fisheries, whereas the Chukchi Sea does not. The density of cetaceans in the Barents Sea is about double that in the Chukchi Sea, as is the density of nesting seabirds, whereas, the density of pinnipeds in the Chukchi is about double that in the Barents Sea. In the Chukchi Sea, export of carbon to the benthos and benthic biomass may be greater. We hypothesize that the difference in fish abundance in the two seas is driven by differences in the heat and plankton advected into them, and the amount of primary production consumed in the upper water column. However, we suggest that the critical difference between the Chukchi and Barents Seas is the pre-cooled water entering the Chukchi Sea from the south. This cold water, and the winter mixing of the

  9. Impacts of engineered nanomaterials on microbial community structure and function in natural and engineered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mohanty, Anee; Wu, Yichao; Cao, Bin

    2014-10-01

    In natural and engineered environments, microorganisms often exist as complex communities, which are key to the health of ecosystems and the success of bioprocesses in various engineering applications. With the rapid development of nanotechnology in recent years, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have been considered one type of emerging contaminants that pose great potential risks to the proper function of microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems. The impacts of ENMs on microorganisms have attracted increasing research attentions; however, most studies focused on the antimicrobial activities of ENMs at single cell and population level. Elucidating the influence of ENMs on microbial communities represents a critical step toward a comprehensive understanding of the ecotoxicity of ENMs. In this mini-review, we summarize and discuss recent research work on the impacts of ENMs on microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems, with an emphasis on their influences on the community structure and function. We also highlight several important research topics which may be of great interest to the research community.

  10. Microbial Potential for Ecosystem N Loss Is Increased by Experimental N Deposition

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Rima A.; Zak, Donald R.

    2016-01-01

    Fossil fuel combustion and fertilizer use has increased the amount of biologically available N entering terrestrial ecosystems. Nonetheless, our understanding of how anthropogenic N may alter the physiological mechanisms by which soil microorganisms cycle N in soil is still developing. Here, we applied shotgun metagenomics to a replicated long-term field experiment to determine how two decades of experimental N deposition, at a rate expected by mid-century, has affected the genetic potential of the soil microbial community to cycle N in soils. Experimental N deposition lead to a significant and persistent increase in functional assemblages mediating N cycle transformations associated with ecosystem N loss (i.e., denitrification and nitrification), whereas functional assemblages associated with N input and retention (i.e., N fixation and microbial N assimilation) were less positively affected. Furthermore, the abundance and composition of microbial taxa, as well as functional assemblages involved in housekeeping functions (i.e., DNA replication) were unaffected by experimental N deposition. Taken together, our results suggest that functional genes and gene pathways associated with ecosystem N loss have been favored by experimental N deposition, which may represent a genetic mechanism fostering increased N loss as anthropogenic N deposition increases in the future. PMID:27737013

  11. Changing Arctic ecosystems--measuring and forecasting the response of Alaska's terrestrial ecosystem to a warming climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearce, John; DeGange, Anthony R.; Flint, Paul; Fondell, Tom F.; Gustine, David; Holland-Bartels, Leslie; Hope, Andrew G.; Hupp, Jerry; Koch, Josh; Schmutz, Joel; Talbot, Sandra; Ward, David; Whalen, Mary

    2012-01-01

    The Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska is a complex landscape of lakes, streams, and wetlands scattered across low relief tundra that is underlain by permafrost. This region of the Arctic has experienced a warming trend over the past three decades, leading to thawing of on-shore permafrost and the disappearance of sea ice at an unprecedented rate. The loss of sea ice has increased ocean wave action, leading to higher rates of erosion and salt water inundation of coastal habitats. Warming temperatures also have advanced the overall phenology of the region, including earlier snowmelt, lake ice thaw, and plant growth. As a result, many migratory species now arrive in the Arctic several days earlier in spring than in the 1970s. Predicted warming trends for the future will continue to alter plant growth, ice thaw, and other basic landscape processes. These changes will undoubtedly result in different responses by wildlife (fish, birds, and mammals) and the food they rely upon (plants, invertebrates, and fish). However, the type of response by different wildlife populations and their habitats-either positively or negatively-remains largely unknown.

  12. Reconstructing ecosystem functions of the active microbial community of the Baltic Sea oxygen depleted sediments

    PubMed Central

    Franzetti, Andrea; Lundin, Daniel; Sjöling, Sara

    2016-01-01

    Baltic Sea deep water and sediments hold one of the largest anthropogenically induced hypoxic areas in the world. High nutrient input and low water exchange result in eutrophication and oxygen depletion below the halocline. As a consequence at Landsort Deep, the deepest point of the Baltic Sea, anoxia in the sediments has been a persistent condition over the past decades. Given that microbial communities are drivers of essential ecosystem functions we investigated the microbial community metabolisms and functions of oxygen depleted Landsort Deep sediments by metatranscriptomics. Results show substantial expression of genes involved in protein metabolism demonstrating that the Landsort Deep sediment microbial community is active. Identified expressed gene suites of metabolic pathways with importance for carbon transformation including fermentation, dissimilatory sulphate reduction and methanogenesis were identified. The presence of transcripts for these metabolic processes suggests a potential for heterotrophic-autotrophic community synergism and indicates active mineralisation of the organic matter deposited at the sediment as a consequence of the eutrophication process. Furthermore, cyanobacteria, probably deposited from the water column, are transcriptionally active in the anoxic sediment at this depth. Results also reveal high abundance of transcripts encoding integron integrases. These results provide insight into the activity of the microbial community of the anoxic sediment at the deepest point of the Baltic Sea and its possible role in ecosystem functioning. PMID:26823996

  13. Spatial and successional dynamics of microbial biofilm communities in a grassland stream ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Veach, Allison M; Stegen, James C; Brown, Shawn P; Dodds, Walter K; Jumpponen, Ari

    2016-09-01

    Biofilms represent a metabolically active and structurally complex component of freshwater ecosystems. Ephemeral prairie streams are hydrologically harsh and prone to frequent perturbation. Elucidating both functional and structural community changes over time within prairie streams provides a general understanding of microbial responses to environmental disturbance. We examined microbial succession of biofilm communities at three sites in a third-order stream at Konza Prairie over a 2- to 64-day period. Microbial abundance (bacterial abundance, chlorophyll a concentrations) increased and never plateaued during the experiment. Net primary productivity (net balance of oxygen consumption and production) of the developing biofilms did not differ statistically from zero until 64 days suggesting a balance of the use of autochthonous and allochthonous energy sources until late succession. Bacterial communities (MiSeq analyses of the V4 region of 16S rRNA) established quickly. Bacterial richness, diversity and evenness were high after 2 days and increased over time. Several dominant bacterial phyla (Beta-, Alphaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi) and genera (Luteolibacter, Flavobacterium, Gemmatimonas, Hydrogenophaga) differed in relative abundance over space and time. Bacterial community composition differed across both space and successional time. Pairwise comparisons of phylogenetic turnover in bacterial community composition indicated that early-stage succession (≤16 days) was driven by stochastic processes, whereas later stages were driven by deterministic selection regardless of site. Our data suggest that microbial biofilms predictably develop both functionally and structurally indicating distinct successional trajectories of bacterial communities in this ecosystem.

  14. Spatial and successional dynamics of microbial biofilm communities in a grassland stream ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Veach, Allison M.; Stegen, James C.; Brown, Shawn P.; Dodds, Walter K.; Jumpponen, Ari

    2016-09-06

    Biofilms represent a metabolically active and structurally complex component of freshwater ecosystems. Ephemeral prairie streams are hydrologically harsh and prone to frequent perturbation. Elucidating both functional and structural community changes over time within prairie streams provides a general understanding of microbial responses to environmental disturbance. In this study, we examined microbial succession of biofilm communities at three sites in a third-order stream at Konza Prairie over a 2- to 64-day period. Microbial abundance (bacterial abundance, chlorophyll a concentrations) increased and never plateaued during the experiment. Net primary productivity (net balance of oxygen consumption and production) of the developing biofilms did not differ statistically from zero until 64 days suggesting a balance of the use of autochthonous and allochthonous energy sources until late succession. Bacterial communities (MiSeq analyses of the V4 region of 16S rRNA) established quickly. Bacterial richness, diversity and evenness were high after 2 days and increased over time. Several dominant bacterial phyla (Beta-, Alphaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi) and genera (Luteolibacter, Flavobacterium, Gemmatimonas, Hydrogenophaga) differed in relative abundance over space and time. Bacterial community composition differed across both space and successional time. Pairwise comparisons of phylogenetic turnover in bacterial community composition indicated that early-stage succession (≤16 days) was driven by stochastic processes, whereas later stages were driven by deterministic selection regardless of site. Finally, our data suggest that microbial biofilms predictably develop both functionally and structurally indicating distinct successional trajectories of bacterial communities in this ecosystem.

  15. Cellulose digestion and metabolism induced biocatalytic transitions in anaerobic microbial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Yamazawa, Akira; Iikura, Tomohiro; Morioka, Yusuke; Shino, Amiu; Ogata, Yoshiyuki; Date, Yasuhiro; Kikuchi, Jun

    2013-12-31

    Anaerobic digestion of highly polymerized biomass by microbial communities present in diverse microbial ecosystems is an indispensable metabolic process for biogeochemical cycling in nature and for industrial activities required to maintain a sustainable society. Therefore, the evaluation of the complicated microbial metabolomics presents a significant challenge. We here describe a comprehensive strategy for characterizing the degradation of highly crystallized bacterial cellulose (BC) that is accompanied by metabolite production for identifying the responsible biocatalysts, including microorganisms and their metabolic functions. To this end, we employed two-dimensional solid- and one-dimensional solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) profiling combined with a metagenomic approach using stable isotope labeling. The key components of biocatalytic reactions determined using a metagenomic approach were correlated with cellulose degradation and metabolic products. The results indicate that BC degradation was mediated by cellulases that contain carbohydrate-binding modules and that belong to structural type A. The degradation reactions induced the metabolic dynamics of the microbial community and produced organic compounds, such as acetic acid and propionic acid, mainly metabolized by clostridial species. This combinatorial, functional and structural metagenomic approach is useful for the comprehensive characterization of biomass degradation, metabolic dynamics and their key components in diverse ecosystems.

  16. Chronic Exposure Effects of Silver Nanoparticles on Stream Microbial Decomposer Communities and Ecosystem Functions.

    PubMed

    Tlili, Ahmed; Jabiol, Jérémy; Behra, Renata; Gil-Allué, Carmen; Gessner, Mark O

    2017-02-21

    With the accelerated use of silver nanoparticles (AgNP) in commercial products, streams will increasingly serve as recipients of, and repositories for, AgNP. This raises concerns about the potential toxicity of these nanomaterials in the environment. Here we aimed to assess the impacts of chronic AgNP exposure on the metabolic activities and community structure of fungal and bacterial plant litter decomposers as central players in stream ecosystems. Minimal variation in the size and surface charge of AgNP indicated that nanoparticles were rather stable during the experiment. Five days of exposure to 0.05 and 0.5 μM AgNP in microcosms shifted bacterial community structure but had no effect on a suite of microbial metabolic activities, despite silver accumulation in the decomposing leaf litter. After 25 days, however, a broad range of microbial endpoints, as well as rates of litter decomposition, were strongly affected. Declines matched with the total silver concentration in the leaves and were accompanied by changes in fungal and bacterial community structure. These results highlight a distinct sensitivity of litter-associated microbial communities in streams to chronic AgNP exposure, with effects on both microbial functions and community structure resulting in notable ecosystem consequences through impacts on litter decomposition and further biogeochemical processes.

  17. Dynamics of microbial communities during decomposition of litter from pioneering plants in initial soil ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esperschütz, J.; Zimmermann, C.; Dümig, A.; Welzl, G.; Buegger, F.; Elmer, M.; Munch, J. C.; Schloter, M.

    2013-07-01

    In initial ecosystems, concentrations of all macro- and micronutrients can be considered as extremely low. Plant litter therefore strongly influences the development of a degrader's food web and is an important source for C and N input into soil in such ecosystems. In the present study, a 13C litter decomposition field experiment was performed for 30 weeks in initial soils from a post-mining area near the city of Cottbus (Germany). Two of this region's dominant but contrasting pioneering plant species (Lotus corniculatus L. and Calamagrostis epigejos L.) were chosen to investigate the effects of litter quality on the litter decomposing microbial food web in initially nutrient-poor substrates. The results clearly indicate the importance of litter quality, as indicated by its N content, its bioavailability for the degradation process and the development of microbial communities in the detritusphere and soil. The degradation of the L. corniculatus litter, which had a low C / N ratio, was fast and showed pronounced changes in the microbial community structure 1-4 weeks after litter addition. The degradation of the C. epigejos litter material was slow and microbial community changes mainly occurred between 4 and 30 weeks after litter addition to the soil. However, for both litter materials a clear indication of the importance of fungi for the degradation process was observed both in terms of fungal abundance and activity (13C incorporation activity)

  18. Dynamics of microbial communities during decomposition of litter from pioneering plants in initial soil ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esperschütz, J.; Zimmermann, C.; Dümig, A.; Welzl, G.; Buegger, F.; Elmer, M.; Munch, J. C.; Schloter, M.

    2012-10-01

    In initial ecosystems concentrations of all macro- and micronutrients can be considered as extremely low. Plant litter therefore strongly influences the development of a degraders' food web and is an important source for C and N input into soil in such ecosystems. In the present study, a 13C litter decomposition field experiment was performed for 30 weeks in initial soils from a post-mining area near the city of Cottbus (Germany). Two of this regions' dominant but contrasting pioneering plant species (Lotus corniculatus L. and Calamagrostis epigejos L.) were chosen to investigate the effects of litter quality on the litter decomposing microbial food web in initially nutrient-poor substrates. The results clearly indicate the importance of litter quality, mainly the amount of N stored in the litter material and its bioavailability for the degradation process and the development of microbial communities in the detritusphere and bulk soil. Whereas the degradation process of the L. corniculatus litter which had a low C/N ratio was fast and most pronounced changes in the microbial community structure were observed 1-4 weeks after litter addition, the degradation of the C. epigejos litter material was slow and microbial community changes mainly occurred at between 4 and 30 weeks after litter addition to the soil. However for both litter materials a clear indication for the importance of fungi for the degradation process was observed both on the abundance level as well as on the level of 13C incorporation (activity).

  19. Great Salt Lake Microbial Communities: The Foundation of a Terminal Lake Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baxter, B. K.; Acord, M.; Riddle, M. R.; Avery, B.

    2006-12-01

    Great Salt Lake (GSL) is a natural hypersaline ecosystem and a terminal lake of substantial size. The dramatic fluctuation in water levels and salinity creates an ecological backdrop selective for organisms with a high degree of adaptability. At the macro level, the biodiversity of the GSL ecosystem is simple, due to the limitations of an extreme saline environment: Birds eat the two invertebrates of the lake, and the invertebrates eat phytoplankton. However, analysis of the microbial level reveals an enormous diversity of species interacting with one another and the ecosystem as a whole. Our cultivation, biochemical tests, microscopy and DNA sequencing yielded data on dozens of isolates. These data demonstrate novel species, and possibly genera, living in the lake. In addition, we have discovered viruses (bacteriophage) that prey on the microorganisms. Preliminary data on bacteria dwelling in the gut of the brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana, link these prokaryotic organisms to the food chain for the first time. All of these results taken together open the door for the discussion of the significance of the microbial level of terminal lake ecosystem, particularly in light of lake water contamination and bioremediation possibilities.

  20. Microbial primary production on an Arctic glacier is insignificant in comparison with allochthonous organic carbon input.

    PubMed

    Stibal, Marek; Tranter, Martyn; Benning, Liane G; Rehák, Josef

    2008-08-01

    Cryoconite holes are unique freshwater environments on glacier surfaces, formed when solar-heated dark debris melts down into the ice. Active photoautotrophic microorganisms are abundant within the holes and fix inorganic carbon due to the availability of liquid water and solar radiation. Cryoconite holes are potentially important sources of organic carbon to the glacial ecosystem, but the relative magnitudes of autochthonous microbial primary production and wind-borne allochthonous organic matter brought are unknown. Here, we compare an estimate of annual microbial primary production in 2006 on Werenskioldbreen, a Svalbard glacier, with the organic carbon content of cryoconite debris. There is a great disparity between annual primary production (4.3 mug C g(-1) year(-1)) and the high content of organic carbon within the debris (1.7-4.5%, equivalent to 8500-22 000 mug C g(-1) debris). Long-term accumulation of autochthonous organic matter is considered unlikely due to ablation dynamics and the surface hydrology of the glacier. Rather, it is more likely that the majority of the organic matter on Werenskioldbreen is allochthonous. Hence, although glacier surfaces can be a significant source of organic carbon for glacial environments on Svalbard, they may be reservoirs rather than oases of high productivity.

  1. Design and Development of a Spectral Library for Different Vegetation and Landcover Types for Arctic, Antarctic and Chihuahua Desert Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matharasi, K.; Goswami, S.; Gamon, J.; Vargas, S.; Marin, R.; Lin, D.; Tweedie, C. E.

    2008-12-01

    All objects on the Earth's surface absorb and reflect portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Depending on the composition of the material, every material has its characteristic spectral profile. The characteristic spectral profile for vegetation is often used to study how vegetation patterns at large spatial scales affect ecosystem structure and function. Analysis of spectroscopic data from the laboratory, and from various other platforms like aircraft or spacecraft, requires a knowledge base that consists of different characteristic spectral profiles for known different materials. This study reports on establishment of an online and searchable spectral library for a range of plant species and landcover types in the Arctic, Anatarctic and Chihuahuan desert ecosystems. Field data were collected from Arctic Alaska, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Chihuahuan desert in the visible to near infrared (IR) range using a handheld portable spectrometer. The data have been archived in a database created using postgre sql with have been made publicly available on a plone web-interface. This poster describes the data collected in more detail and offers instruction to users who wish to make use of this free online resource.

  2. Spatial and temporal variation of an ice-adapted predator's feeding ecology in a changing Arctic marine ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Yurkowski, David J; Ferguson, Steven H; Semeniuk, Christina A D; Brown, Tanya M; Muir, Derek C G; Fisk, Aaron T

    2016-03-01

    Spatial and temporal variation can confound interpretations of relationships within and between species in terms of diet composition, niche size, and trophic position (TP). The cause of dietary variation within species is commonly an ontogenetic niche shift, which is a key dynamic influencing community structure. We quantified spatial and temporal variations in ringed seal (Pusa hispida) diet, niche size, and TP during ontogeny across the Arctic-a rapidly changing ecosystem. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis was performed on 558 liver and 630 muscle samples from ringed seals and on likely prey species from five locations ranging from the High to the Low Arctic. A modest ontogenetic diet shift occurred, with adult ringed seals consuming more forage fish (approximately 80 versus 60 %) and having a higher TP than subadults, which generally decreased with latitude. However, the degree of shift varied spatially, with adults in the High Arctic presenting a more restricted niche size and consuming more Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) than subadults (87 versus 44 %) and adults at the lowest latitude (29 %). The TPs of adult and subadult ringed seals generally decreased with latitude (4.7-3.3), which was mainly driven by greater complexity in trophic structure within the zooplankton communities. Adult isotopic niche size increased over time, likely due to the recent circumpolar increases in subarctic forage fish distribution and abundance. Given the spatial and temporal variability in ringed seal foraging ecology, ringed seals exhibit dietary plasticity as a species, suggesting adaptability in terms of their diet to climate change.

  3. Increases in Growing Season Length and Changes in Precipitation at Six Different Arctic and Subarctic Ecosystems from 1906-Present

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Culler, L. E.; Finger, R.; Plane, E.; Ayres, M.; Virginia, R. A.

    2015-12-01

    Ecological dynamics across the Arctic are responding to rapid changes in climate. As a whole, the Arctic has warmed at approximately twice the rate of the rest of the world, but changes in temperature and precipitation experienced at regional and local scales are most important for coupled human-natural systems. In addition, biologically-relevant climate indices are necessary for quantifying ecological responses of terrestrial and aquatic systems to varying climate. We compared climatic changes at six different Arctic and sub-Arctic locations, including two in Greenland (Kangerlussuaq, Sisimiut), one in Sweden (Abisko), and three in Alaska (Barrow, Nome, Fairbanks). We amassed weather data (daily temperature and precipitation), dating as far back as 1906, from public-access databases and used these data to calculate indices such as length of growing season, growing season degree days (GDD), and growing season precipitation. Annual GDD increased at all locations (average of 13% increase in GDD since 1980), but especially in western Greenland (16 and 37% in Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut, respectively). Changes in growing season precipitation were more variable, with only Barrow, AK and Abisko, Sweden experiencing increased precipitation. All other sites experienced stable or slightly declining precipitation. Increasing temperatures and relatively stable precipitation translates to increased evapotranspiration potential, which influences soil moisture, lake depth, vegetation, carbon emissions, and fire susceptibility. Understanding local and regional trends in temperature and precipitation can help explain observed phenological changes and other processes at population, community, and ecosystem levels. In addition, identification of locations most susceptible to future change will allow scientists to closely monitor their ecological dynamics, anticipate changes in coupled human-natural systems, and consider adaptation plans for the most rapidly changing systems.

  4. Integrating Research and Education in a Study of Biocomplexity in Arctic Tundra Ecosystems: Costs, Results, and Benefits to the Research Agenda

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gould, W. A.; González, G.; Walker, D. A.

    2006-12-01

    The integration of research and education is one of the fundamental goals of our national science policy. There is strong interest to improve this integration at the graduate and undergraduate levels, with the general public, and with local and indigenous people. Efforts expended in integrating research and education can occur at the expense of research productivity and represent a cost. Results may include number of personnel involved, activities accomplished, research or other products produced. Benefits are difficult to quantify and may be short term and tangible, e.g. education-research projects enhancing research productivity with publications, or long-term and include intangibles such as personal interactions and experiences influencing career choices, the perception of research activities, enhanced communication, and direct or indirect influence on related research and educational projects. We have integrated the University field course Arctic Field Ecology with an interdisciplinary research project investigating the interactions of climate, vegetation, and permafrost in the study Biocomplexity of Arctic Tundra Ecosystems. The integration is designed to give students background in regional ecology; introduce students to the project objectives, methods, and personnel; provide for interaction with participating scientists; conduct research initiated by the class and instructors; and provide the opportunity to interact with indigenous people with interests in traditional ecological knowledge and land management. Our costs included increased logistical complexity and time-demands on the researchers and staff managing the integration. The educational component increased the size of the research group with the addition of 55 participants over the 4 field seasons of the study. Participants came from 7 countries and included 20 enrolled university students, 18 Inuit non student participants, 9 Inuit students, 3 visiting scientists, 3 staff, and 2 scientist

  5. Hadal biosphere: insight into the microbial ecosystem in the deepest ocean on Earth.

    PubMed

    Nunoura, Takuro; Takaki, Yoshihiro; Hirai, Miho; Shimamura, Shigeru; Makabe, Akiko; Koide, Osamu; Kikuchi, Tohru; Miyazaki, Junichi; Koba, Keisuke; Yoshida, Naohiro; Sunamura, Michinari; Takai, Ken

    2015-03-17

    Hadal oceans at water depths below 6,000 m are the least-explored aquatic biosphere. The Challenger Deep, located in the western equatorial Pacific, with a water depth of ∼11 km, is the deepest ocean on Earth. Microbial communities associated with waters from the sea surface to the trench bottom (0∼10,257 m) in the Challenger Deep were analyzed, and unprecedented trench microbial communities were identified in the hadal waters (6,000∼10,257 m) that were distinct from the abyssal microbial communities. The potentially chemolithotrophic populations were less abundant in the hadal water than those in the upper abyssal waters. The emerging members of chemolithotrophic nitrifiers in the hadal water that likely adapt to the higher flux of electron donors were also different from those in the abyssal waters that adapt to the lower flux of electron donors. Species-level niche separation in most of the dominant taxa was also found between the hadal and abyssal microbial communities. Considering the geomorphology and the isolated hydrotopographical nature of the Mariana Trench, we hypothesized that the distinct hadal microbial ecosystem was driven by the endogenous recycling of organic matter in the hadal waters associated with the trench geomorphology.

  6. Hadal biosphere: Insight into the microbial ecosystem in the deepest ocean on Earth

    PubMed Central

    Nunoura, Takuro; Takaki, Yoshihiro; Hirai, Miho; Shimamura, Shigeru; Makabe, Akiko; Koide, Osamu; Kikuchi, Tohru; Miyazaki, Junichi; Koba, Keisuke; Yoshida, Naohiro; Sunamura, Michinari; Takai, Ken

    2015-01-01

    Hadal oceans at water depths below 6,000 m are the least-explored aquatic biosphere. The Challenger Deep, located in the western equatorial Pacific, with a water depth of ∼11 km, is the deepest ocean on Earth. Microbial communities associated with waters from the sea surface to the trench bottom (0 ∼10,257 m) in the Challenger Deep were analyzed, and unprecedented trench microbial communities were identified in the hadal waters (6,000 ∼10,257 m) that were distinct from the abyssal microbial communities. The potentially chemolithotrophic populations were less abundant in the hadal water than those in the upper abyssal waters. The emerging members of chemolithotrophic nitrifiers in the hadal water that likely adapt to the higher flux of electron donors were also different from those in the abyssal waters that adapt to the lower flux of electron donors. Species-level niche separation in most of the dominant taxa was also found between the hadal and abyssal microbial communities. Considering the geomorphology and the isolated hydrotopographical nature of the Mariana Trench, we hypothesized that the distinct hadal microbial ecosystem was driven by the endogenous recycling of organic matter in the hadal waters associated with the trench geomorphology. PMID:25713387

  7. Utilization of subsurface microbial electrochemical systems to elucidate the mechanisms of competition between methanogenesis and microbial iron(III)/humic acid reduction in Arctic peat soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedman, E. S.; Miller, K.; Lipson, D.; Angenent, L. T.

    2012-12-01

    High-latitude peat soils are a major carbon reservoir, and there is growing concern that previously dormant carbon from this reservoir could be released to the atmosphere as a result of continued climate change. Microbial processes, such as methanogenesis and carbon dioxide production via iron(III) or humic acid reduction, are at the heart of the carbon cycle in Arctic peat soils [1]. A deeper understanding of the factors governing microbial dominance in these soils is crucial for predicting the effects of continued climate change. In previous years, we have demonstrated the viability of a potentiostatically-controlled subsurface microbial electrochemical system-based biosensor that measures microbial respiration via exocellular electron transfer [2]. This system utilizes a graphite working electrode poised at 0.1 V NHE to mimic ferric iron and humic acid compounds. Microbes that would normally utilize these compounds as electron acceptors donate electrons to the electrode instead. The resulting current is a measure of microbial respiration with the electrode and is recorded with respect to time. Here, we examine the mechanistic relationship between methanogenesis and iron(III)- or humic acid-reduction by using these same microbial-three electrode systems to provide an inexhaustible source of alternate electron acceptor to microbes in these soils. Chamber-based carbon dioxide and methane fluxes were measured from soil collars with and without microbial three-electrode systems over a period of four weeks. In addition, in some collars we simulated increased fermentation by applying acetate treatments to understand possible effects of continued climate change on microbial processes in these carbon-rich soils. The results from this work aim to increase our fundamental understanding of competition between electron acceptors, and will provide valuable data for climate modeling scenarios. 1. Lipson, D.A., et al., Reduction of iron (III) and humic substances plays a major

  8. Microbial metabolism fuels ecosystem-scale organic matter transformations: an integrated biological and chemical perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wrighton, K. C.; Narrowe, A. B.; Angle, J.; Stefanik, K. S.; Daly, R. A.; Johnston, M.; Miller, C. S.

    2014-12-01

    Freshwater saturated sediments and soils represent vital ecosystems due to their nutrient cycling capacities and their prominent contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. However, the diversity of microorganisms and metabolic pathways involved in carbon cycling, and the impacts of these processes on other biogeochemical cycles remain poorly understood. Major advances in DNA sequencing have helped forge linkages between the previously disconnected biological and chemical components of these systems. Here, we present data on the use of assembly-based metagenomics to generate hypotheses on microbial carbon degradation and biogeochemical cycling in waterlogged sediments and soils. DNA sequencing from a fresh water aquifer adjacent to the Colorado River in Rifle, CO yielded extensive genome recovery from multiple previously unknown bacterial lineages. Fermentative metabolisms encoded by these genomes drive nitrogen, hydrogen, and sulfur cycling in this subsurface system. We are also applying a similar approach to identify microbial processes in a freshwater wetland on Lake Erie, OH. Given the increased diversity (increased richness, decreased evenness, and strain variation) of wetland sediment microbial communities, we modified methods for specialized assembly of long taxonomic marker gene amplicons (EMIRGE) to create a biogeographical map of Fungi, Archaea, and Bacteria along depth and hydrological transects. This map reveals that the microbial community associated with the top two depths (>7 cm) is significantly different from bottom depths (7-40 cm). Dissolved organic matter (DOM) molecular weight and the presence of oxidized terminal electron acceptors best predict differences in microbial community structure. Laboratory mesocosms amended with pore-water DOM, in situ soil communities, and variable oxygen conditions link DOM composition and redox to microbial metabolic networks, biogeochemical cycles, and green house gas emission. Organism identities from

  9. Microbial communities in dark oligotrophic volcanic ice cave ecosystems of Mt. Erebus, Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Tebo, Bradley M.; Davis, Richard E.; Anitori, Roberto P.; Connell, Laurie B.; Schiffman, Peter; Staudigel, Hubert

    2015-01-01

    The Earth's crust hosts a subsurface, dark, and oligotrophic biosphere that is poorly understood in terms of the energy supporting its biomass production and impact on food webs at the Earth's surface. Dark oligotrophic volcanic ecosystems (DOVEs) are good environments for investigations of life in the absence of sunlight as they are poor in organics, rich in chemical reactants and well known for chemical exchange with Earth's surface systems. Ice caves near the summit of Mt. Erebus (Antarctica) offer DOVEs in a polar alpine environment that is starved in organics and with oxygenated hydrothermal circulation in highly reducing host rock. We surveyed the microbial communities using PCR, cloning, sequencing and analysis of the small subunit (16S) ribosomal and Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate Carboxylase/Oxygenase (RubisCO) genes in sediment samples from three different caves, two that are completely dark and one that receives snow-filtered sunlight seasonally. The microbial communities in all three caves are composed primarily of Bacteria and fungi; Archaea were not detected. The bacterial communities from these ice caves display low phylogenetic diversity, but with a remarkable diversity of RubisCO genes including new deeply branching Form I clades, implicating the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle as a pathway of CO2 fixation. The microbial communities in one of the dark caves, Warren Cave, which has a remarkably low phylogenetic diversity, were analyzed in more detail to gain a possible perspective on the energetic basis of the microbial ecosystem in the cave. Atmospheric carbon (CO2 and CO), including from volcanic emissions, likely supplies carbon and/or some of the energy requirements of chemoautotrophic microbial communities in Warren Cave and probably other Mt. Erebus ice caves. Our work casts a first glimpse at Mt. Erebus ice caves as natural laboratories for exploring carbon, energy and nutrient sources in the subsurface biosphere and the nutritional limits on

  10. Burning fire-prone Mediterranean shrublands: immediate changes in soil microbial community structure and ecosystem functions.

    PubMed

    Goberna, M; García, C; Insam, H; Hernández, M T; Verdú, M

    2012-07-01

    Wildfires subject soil microbes to extreme temperatures and modify their physical and chemical habitat. This might immediately alter their community structure and ecosystem functions. We burned a fire-prone shrubland under controlled conditions to investigate (1) the fire-induced changes in the community structure of soil archaea, bacteria and fungi by analysing 16S or 18S rRNA gene amplicons separated through denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; (2) the physical and chemical variables determining the immediate shifts in the microbial community structure; and (3) the microbial drivers of the change in ecosystem functions related to biogeochemical cycling. Prokaryotes and eukaryotes were structured by the local environment in pre-fire soils. Fire caused a significant shift in the microbial community structure, biomass C, respiration and soil hydrolases. One-day changes in bacterial and fungal community structure correlated to the rise in total organic C and NO(3)(-)-N caused by the combustion of plant residues. In the following week, bacterial communities shifted further forced by desiccation and increasing concentrations of macronutrients. Shifts in archaeal community structure were unrelated to any of the 18 environmental variables measured. Fire-induced changes in the community structure of bacteria, rather than archaea or fungi, were correlated to the enhanced microbial biomass, CO(2) production and hydrolysis of C and P organics. This is the first report on the combined effects of fire on the three biological domains in soils. We concluded that immediately after fire the biogeochemical cycling in Mediterranean shrublands becomes less conservative through the increased microbial biomass, activity and changes in the bacterial community structure.

  11. Microbial Ecosystems from the Deepest Regions of the Terrestrial Deep Biosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moser, D. P.

    2011-12-01

    Although recent discoveries from four continents support the existence of microbial ecosystems across vast regions of our planet's inner space, very little is known about the abundance, distribution, diversity, or ultimate depth limit of subsurface microbial life. These deep lithospheric inhabitants must contend with a variety of potential challenges including high temperature, pressure and salinity, extreme isolation, and low energy flux. Interestingly, although deep microbial ecosystems are assumed to be energy and nutrient limited, it is often difficult to identify any one limiting substrate and the energy for deep life is often present in relative abundance (e.g. as geologically-produced hydrogen or other reduced gases). Recently, the concept of radiation-supported deep microbial ecosystems has gained traction in the literature. In particular, one bacterium, a Firmicute denoted Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator, has been shown to be prominent, and in cases dominate, in deep fracture fluids from across the Witwatersrand basin of South Africa, where it appears to persist by utilizing H2 and SO42- derived from radiochemical reactions in U-rich host rock. Until recently, these mines were thought to define the geographic limit of this genus and species; however, our recent North American detection of D. audaxviator in radioactive subsurface water resulting from underground nuclear tests both supports earlier assertions concerning the radiochemical lifestyle of D. audaxviator and greatly expands its range. Results such as these suggest that novel modes of life operating without inputs from the photosphere are possible, and thus may have implications for the likelihood of detecting life off the Earth (e.g. in the Martian subsurface). In addition to underground nuclear detonation cavities, this talk will consider insights gained from ongoing microbial ecology assessments from several to date unexplored deep ecosystems accessed via deep mines in the Black Hills (USA

  12. Wood ant nests as hot spots of microbial activity in forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jilkova, Veronika; Frouz, Jan

    2015-04-01

    Wood ants build large and long-lasting nests from organic materials and mineral soil which have a very special structure. Nests are well-aerated due to numerous chambers and galleries and stable temperature and moisture are maintained there thanks to ant activities. These conditions together with the constant input of easily available nutrients from food of ants support microbial activity. Due to respiration of ants and microbes, wood ant nests are known as hot spots of CO2 production in forest ecosystems. Although the main source of CO2 is represented by ant respiration, a significant amount of CO2 originates also from microbial decomposition of organic materials. Several conditions affect microbial respiration, such as moisture of nest material, changes in temperatures or food input. As mineral nutrients are released from organic materials, wood ant nests represent hot spots of mineral nutrients in forest ecosystems which can be exploited by other organisms, such as roots of trees, and can also cause heterogeneity in species abundance and composition.

  13. Metagenomic comparison of microbial communities inhabiting confined and unconfined aquifer ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Smith, Renee J; Jeffries, Thomas C; Roudnew, Ben; Fitch, Alison J; Seymour, Justin R; Delpin, Marina W; Newton, Kelly; Brown, Melissa H; Mitchell, James G

    2012-01-01

    A metagenomic analysis of two aquifer systems located under a dairy farming region was performed to examine to what extent the composition and function of microbial communities varies between confined and surface-influenced unconfined groundwater ecosystems. A fundamental shift in taxa was seen with an overrepresentation of Rhodospirillales, Rhodocyclales, Chlorobia and Circovirus in the unconfined aquifer, while Deltaproteobacteria and Clostridiales were overrepresented in the confined aquifer. A relative overrepresentation of metabolic processes including antibiotic resistance (β-lactamase genes), lactose and glucose utilization and DNA replication were observed in the unconfined aquifer, while flagella production, phosphate metabolism and starch uptake pathways were all overrepresented in the confined aquifer. These differences were likely driven by differences in the nutrient status and extent of exposure to contaminants of the two groundwater systems. However, when compared with freshwater, ocean, sediment and animal gut metagenomes, the unconfined and confined aquifers were taxonomically and metabolically more similar to each other than to any other environment. This suggests that intrinsic features of groundwater ecosystems, including low oxygen levels and a lack of sunlight, have provided specific niches for evolution to create unique microbial communities. Obtaining a broader understanding of the structure and function of microbial communities inhabiting different groundwater systems is particularly important given the increased need for managing groundwater reserves of potable water.

  14. Effects of Disturbances on Vegetation Composition and Permafrost Thaw in Boreal Forests and Tundra Ecosystems of the Siberian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramos, E.; Alexander, H. D.; Natali, S.

    2014-12-01

    In Arctic ecosystems, climate-driven changes to the thermal regime of permafrost soils have the potential to create surface disturbances that influence vegetation dynamics and underlying soil properties. Disturbance-mediated changes in vegetation are important because vegetation and the accumulation of soil organic matter drive ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics and contribute to the insulation of soils and protection of permafrost from thaw. We examined the effect of two disturbance types—thermokarsts and frost boils—to determine disturbance effects on the vegetation community and soil properties in northeast Siberia. In summer 2014, we measured vegetation cover, soil moisture, soil temperature, and thaw depth in two thermokarst sites within boreal forests, two frost boil sites in tundra, and in adjacent undisturbed sites within both ecosystems. Both thermokarst and frost boils resulted in decreased vegetation cover and greater exposure of mineral soils (10-40% bare soils vs. 0% in undisturbed), and consequently, 2-3 times higher soil temperature and deeper thaw depth. Compared to undisturbed areas, soil moisture was 3-4 times higher in thermokarst areas but 1.2-2 times lower in frost boil areas, which reflected differences in microtopography between these two disturbance types. In both thermokarst and frost boil disturbed areas, deciduous and evergreen shrubs covered only 5 and 10%, respectively, compared to approximately 10 and 20%, respectively, in undisturbed areas. In general, graminoids were substantially more abundant (2-20 times) in disturbed areas than in those undisturbed. These results highlight important linkages between disturbances, vegetation communities, and permafrost soils, and contribute to our understanding of how changes in arctic vegetation dynamics as direct and/or indirect consequences of climate change have the potential to impact permafrost C pools.

  15. Mercury in freshwater ecosystems of the Canadian Arctic: recent advances on its cycling and fate.

    PubMed

    Chételat, John; Amyot, Marc; Arp, Paul; Blais, Jules M; Depew, David; Emmerton, Craig A; Evans, Marlene; Gamberg, Mary; Gantner, Nikolaus; Girard, Catherine; Graydon, Jennifer; Kirk, Jane; Lean, David; Lehnherr, Igor; Muir, Derek; Nasr, Mina; Poulain, Alexandre J; Power, Michael; Roach, Pat; Stern, Gary; Swanson, Heidi; van der Velden, Shannon

    2015-03-15

    The Canadian Arctic has vast freshwater resources, and fish are important in the diet of many Northerners. Mercury is a contaminant of concern because of its potential toxicity and elevated bioaccumulation in some fish populations. Over the last decade, significant advances have been made in characterizing the cycling and fate of mercury in these freshwater environments. Large amounts of new data on concentrations, speciation and fluxes of Hg are provided and summarized for water and sediment, which were virtually absent for the Canadian Arctic a decade ago. The biogeochemical processes that control the speciation of mercury remain poorly resolved, including the sites and controls of methylmercury production. Food web studies have examined the roles of Hg uptake, trophic transfer, and diet for Hg bioaccumulation in fish, and, in particular, advances have been made in identifying determinants of mercury levels in lake-dwelling and sea-run forms of Arctic char. In a comparison of common freshwater fish species that were sampled across the Canadian Arctic between 2002 and 2009, no geographic patterns or regional hotspots were evident. Over the last two to four decades, Hg concentrations have increased in some monitored populations of fish in the Mackenzie River Basin while other populations from the Yukon and Nunavut showed no change or a slight decline. The different Hg trends indicate that the drivers of temporal change may be regional or habitat-specific. The Canadian Arctic is undergoing profound environmental change, and preliminary evidence suggests that it may be impacting the cycling and bioaccumulation of mercury. Further research is needed to investigate climate change impacts on the Hg cycle as well as biogeochemical controls of methylmercury production and the processes leading to increasing Hg levels in some fish populations in the Canadian Arctic.

  16. Molecular Insights into Plant-Microbial Processes and Carbon Storage in Mangrove Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Romero, I. C.; Ziegler, S. E.; Fogel, M.; Jacobson, M.; Fuhrman, J. A.; Capone, D. G.

    2009-12-01

    Mangrove forests, in tropical and subtropical coastal zones, are among the most productive ecosystems, representing a significant global carbon sink. We report new molecular insights into the functional relationship among microorganisms, mangrove trees and sediment geochemistry. The interactions among these elements were studied in peat-based mangrove sediments (Twin Cays, Belize) subjected to a long-term fertilization experiment with N and P, providing an analog for eutrophication. The composition and δ13C of bacterial PLFA showed that bacteria and mangrove trees had similar nutrient limitation patterns (N in the fringe mangrove zone, P in the interior zone), and that fertilization with N or P can affect bacterial metabolic processes and bacterial carbon uptake (from diverse mangrove sources including leaf litter, live and dead roots). PCR amplified nifH genes showed a high diversity (26% nifH novel clones) and a remarkable spatial and temporal variability in N-fixing microbial populations in the rhizosphere, varying primarily with the abundance of dead roots, PO4-3 and H2S concentrations in natural and fertilized environments. Our results indicate that eutrophication of mangrove ecosystems has the potential to alter microbial organic matter remineralization and carbon release with important implications for the coastal carbon budget. In addition, we will present preliminary data from a new study exploring the modern calibration of carbon and hydrogen isotopes of plant leaf waxes as a proxy recorder of past environmental change in mangrove ecosystems.

  17. Population cycles and species diversity in dynamic Kill-the-Winner model of microbial ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maslov, Sergei; Sneppen, Kim

    2017-01-01

    Determinants of species diversity in microbial ecosystems remain poorly understood. Bacteriophages are believed to increase the diversity by the virtue of Kill-the-Winner infection bias preventing the fastest growing organism from taking over the community. Phage-bacterial ecosystems are traditionally described in terms of the static equilibrium state of Lotka-Volterra equations in which bacterial growth is exactly balanced by losses due to phage predation. Here we consider a more dynamic scenario in which phage infections give rise to abrupt and severe collapses of bacterial populations whenever they become sufficiently large. As a consequence, each bacterial population in our model follows cyclic dynamics of exponential growth interrupted by sudden declines. The total population of all species fluctuates around the carrying capacity of the environment, making these cycles cryptic. While a subset of the slowest growing species in our model is always driven towards extinction, in general the overall ecosystem diversity remains high. The number of surviving species is inversely proportional to the variation in their growth rates but increases with the frequency and severity of phage-induced collapses. Thus counter-intuitively we predict that microbial communities exposed to more violent perturbations should have higher diversity.

  18. Population cycles and species diversity in dynamic Kill-the-Winner model of microbial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Maslov, Sergei; Sneppen, Kim

    2017-01-04

    Determinants of species diversity in microbial ecosystems remain poorly understood. Bacteriophages are believed to increase the diversity by the virtue of Kill-the-Winner infection bias preventing the fastest growing organism from taking over the community. Phage-bacterial ecosystems are traditionally described in terms of the static equilibrium state of Lotka-Volterra equations in which bacterial growth is exactly balanced by losses due to phage predation. Here we consider a more dynamic scenario in which phage infections give rise to abrupt and severe collapses of bacterial populations whenever they become sufficiently large. As a consequence, each bacterial population in our model follows cyclic dynamics of exponential growth interrupted by sudden declines. The total population of all species fluctuates around the carrying capacity of the environment, making these cycles cryptic. While a subset of the slowest growing species in our model is always driven towards extinction, in general the overall ecosystem diversity remains high. The number of surviving species is inversely proportional to the variation in their growth rates but increases with the frequency and severity of phage-induced collapses. Thus counter-intuitively we predict that microbial communities exposed to more violent perturbations should have higher diversity.

  19. Population cycles and species diversity in dynamic Kill-the-Winner model of microbial ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Maslov, Sergei; Sneppen, Kim

    2017-01-01

    Determinants of species diversity in microbial ecosystems remain poorly understood. Bacteriophages are believed to increase the diversity by the virtue of Kill-the-Winner infection bias preventing the fastest growing organism from taking over the community. Phage-bacterial ecosystems are traditionally described in terms of the static equilibrium state of Lotka-Volterra equations in which bacterial growth is exactly balanced by losses due to phage predation. Here we consider a more dynamic scenario in which phage infections give rise to abrupt and severe collapses of bacterial populations whenever they become sufficiently large. As a consequence, each bacterial population in our model follows cyclic dynamics of exponential growth interrupted by sudden declines. The total population of all species fluctuates around the carrying capacity of the environment, making these cycles cryptic. While a subset of the slowest growing species in our model is always driven towards extinction, in general the overall ecosystem diversity remains high. The number of surviving species is inversely proportional to the variation in their growth rates but increases with the frequency and severity of phage-induced collapses. Thus counter-intuitively we predict that microbial communities exposed to more violent perturbations should have higher diversity. PMID:28051127

  20. Source, transport and fate of soil organic matter inferred from microbial biomarker lipids on the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bischoff, Juliane; Sparkes, Robert B.; Doğrul Selver, Ayça; Spencer, Robert G. M.; Gustafsson, Örjan; Semiletov, Igor P.; Dudarev, Oleg V.; Wagner, Dirk; Rivkina, Elizaveta; van Dongen, Bart E.; Talbot, Helen M.

    2016-09-01

    The Siberian Arctic contains a globally significant pool of organic carbon (OC) vulnerable to enhanced warming and subsequent release by both fluvial and coastal erosion processes. However, the rate of release, its behaviour in the Arctic Ocean and vulnerability to remineralisation is poorly understood. Here we combine new measurements of microbial biohopanoids including adenosylhopane, a lipid associated with soil microbial communities, with published glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) and bulk δ13C measurements to improve knowledge of the fate of OC transported to the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). The microbial hopanoid-based soil OC proxy R'soil ranges from 0.0 to 0.8 across the ESAS, with highest values nearshore and decreases offshore. Across the shelf R'soil displays a negative linear correlation with bulk δ13C measurements (r2 = -0.73, p = < 0.001). When compared to the GDGT-based OC proxy, the branched and isoprenoid tetraether (BIT) index, a decoupled (non-linear) behaviour on the shelf was observed, particularly in the Buor-Khaya Bay, where the R'soil shows limited variation, whereas the BIT index shows a rapid decline moving away from the Lena River outflow channels. This reflects a balance between delivery and removal of OC from different sources. The good correlation between the hopanoid and bulk terrestrial signal suggests a broad range of hopanoid sources, both fluvial and via coastal erosion, whilst GDGTs appear to be primarily sourced via fluvial transport. Analysis of ice complex deposits (ICDs) revealed an average R'soil of 0.5 for the Lena Delta, equivalent to that of the Buor-Khaya Bay sediments, whilst ICDs from further east showed higher values (0.6-0.85). Although R'soil correlates more closely with bulk OC than the BIT, our understanding of the endmembers of this system is clearly still incomplete, with variations between the different East Siberian Arctic regions potentially reflecting differences in environmental

  1. USING LAKE SEDIMENT MERCURY FLUX RATIOS TO EVALUATE THE REGIONAL AND CONTINENTAL DIMENSIONS OF MERCURY DEPOSITION IN ARCTIC AND BOREAL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Anthropogenically elevated Hg deposition in arctic and subarctic ecosystems is potentially a serious environmental problem, particularly in northern Europe and North America. To determine the magnitude of this concern, it is necessary to make an evaluation over a broad spatial sc...

  2. Omics in the Arctic: Genome-enabled Contributions to Carbon Cycle Research in High-Latitude Ecosystems (JGI Seventh Annual User Meeting 2012: Genomics of Energy and Environment)

    ScienceCinema

    Wullschleger, Stan [ORNL

    2016-07-12

    Stan Wullschleger of Oak Ridge National Laboratory on "Omics in the Arctic: Genome-enabled Contributions to Carbon Cycle Research in High-Latitude Ecosystems" on March 22, 2012 at the 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting in Walnut Creek, California.

  3. Omics in the Arctic: Genome-enabled Contributions to Carbon Cycle Research in High-Latitude Ecosystems (JGI Seventh Annual User Meeting 2012: Genomics of Energy and Environment)

    SciTech Connect

    Wullschleger, Stan

    2012-03-22

    Stan Wullschleger of Oak Ridge National Laboratory on "Omics in the Arctic: Genome-enabled Contributions to Carbon Cycle Research in High-Latitude Ecosystems" on March 22, 2012 at the 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting in Walnut Creek, California.

  4. Comparative sensitivity to the fungicide tebuconazole of biofilm and plankton microbial communities in freshwater ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Artigas, J; Pascault, N; Bouchez, A; Chastain, J; Debroas, D; Humbert, J F; Leloup, J; Tadonleke, R D; ter Halle, A; Pesce, S

    2014-01-15

    Stream and lake ecosystems in agricultural watersheds are exposed to fungicide inputs that can threaten the structure and functioning of aquatic microbial communities. This research analyzes the impact of the triazole fungicide tebuconazole (TBZ) on natural biofilm and plankton microbial communities from sites presenting different degrees of agricultural contamination. Biofilm and plankton communities from less-polluted (LP) and polluted (P) sites were exposed to nominal concentrations of 0 (control), 2 and 20 μg TBZ L(-1) in 3-week microcosm experiments. Descriptors of microbial community structure (bacterial density and chlorophyll-a concentration) and function (bacterial respiration and production and photosynthesis) were analyzed to chart the effects of TBZ and the kinetics of TBZ attenuation in water during the experiments. The results showed TBZ-induced effects on biofilm function (inhibition of substrate-induced respiration and photosynthetic activity), especially in LP-site communities, whereas plankton communities experienced a transitory stimulation of bacterial densities in communities from both LP and P sites. TBZ attenuation was stronger in biofilm (60-75%) than plankton (15-18%) experiments, probably due to greater adsorption on biofilms. The differences between biofilm and plankton responses to TBZ were likely explained by differences in community structure (presence of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) matrix) and microbial composition. Biofilm communities also exhibited different sensitivity levels according to their in-field pre-exposure to fungicide, with P-site communities demonstrating adaptation capacities to TBZ. This study indicates that TBZ toxicity to non-targeted aquatic microbial communities essentially composed by microalgae and bacteria was moderate, and that its effects varied between stream and lake microbial communities.

  5. Benthic microbial abundance and activities in an intensively trawled ecosystem (Thermaikos Gulf, Aegean Sea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polymenakou, Paraskevi N.; Pusceddu, Antonio; Tselepides, Anastasios; Polychronaki, Thalia; Giannakourou, Antonia; Fiordelmondo, Carla; Hatziyanni, Eleni; Danovaro, Roberto

    2005-12-01

    Abundance of benthic bacteria, heterotrophic nanoflagellates and ciliates, extracellular enzymatic activities, bacterial C production, C mineralisation and sediment community oxygen consumption rates were measured in the Thermaikos Gulf (Northeastern Mediterranean), before (September 2001), and during intense trawling activities (October 2001 and February 2002). The biochemical composition of sedimentary organic matter has revealed that bottom trawling had an effect on the trophic state of Thermaikos Gulf. Changes on the benthic microbial food web were also recorded, during the three sampling seasons. Even though trawling-induced sediment resuspension did not alter significantly the abundance of the microbial components, with the exception of the most impacted station, it determined changes regarding their relative importance. Thus, the ratios of bacterium to nanoflagellates and ciliate to nanoflagellates abundance increased in the trawled stations, causing a sudden increase in bacterial C production, in comparison to the non-trawled station. Four months later, the effects of trawling on the microbial food web were less evident, masked possibly by the drastic decrease in the water temperature. The results of the present work suggest that bottom trawling induces alteration of the sedimentological variables and can be considered as a factor affecting the function of the microbial food web in marine coastal ecosystems. These alterations cause faster mobilisation of organic C buried in the sediment and increase nutrient concentrations and availability in the system, thus inducing an effect that could lead to coastal eutrophication.

  6. The YNP Metagenome Project: Environmental Parameters Responsible for Microbial Distribution in the Yellowstone Geothermal Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Inskeep, William P.; Jay, Zackary J.; Tringe, Susannah G.; Herrgård, Markus J.; Rusch, Douglas B.

    2013-01-01

    The Yellowstone geothermal complex contains over 10,000 diverse geothermal features that host numerous phylogenetically deeply rooted and poorly understood archaea, bacteria, and viruses. Microbial communities in high-temperature environments are generally less diverse than soil, marine, sediment, or lake habitats and therefore offer a tremendous opportunity for studying the structure and function of different model microbial communities using environmental metagenomics. One of the broader goals of this study was to establish linkages among microbial distribution, metabolic potential, and environmental variables. Twenty geochemically distinct geothermal ecosystems representing a broad spectrum of Yellowstone hot-spring environments were used for metagenomic and geochemical analysis and included approximately equal numbers of: (1) phototrophic mats, (2) “filamentous streamer” communities, and (3) archaeal-dominated sediments. The metagenomes were analyzed using a suite of complementary and integrative bioinformatic tools, including phylogenetic and functional analysis of both individual sequence reads and assemblies of predominant phylotypes. This volume identifies major environmental determinants of a large number of thermophilic microbial lineages, many of which have not been fully described in the literature nor previously cultivated to enable functional and genomic analyses. Moreover, protein family abundance comparisons and in-depth analyses of specific genes and metabolic pathways relevant to these hot-spring environments reveal hallmark signatures of metabolic capabilities that parallel the distribution of phylotypes across specific types of geochemical environments. PMID:23653623

  7. The YNP Metagenome Project: Environmental Parameters Responsible for Microbial Distribution in the Yellowstone Geothermal Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Inskeep, William P; Jay, Zackary J; Tringe, Susannah G; Herrgård, Markus J; Rusch, Douglas B

    2013-01-01

    The Yellowstone geothermal complex contains over 10,000 diverse geothermal features that host numerous phylogenetically deeply rooted and poorly understood archaea, bacteria, and viruses. Microbial communities in high-temperature environments are generally less diverse than soil, marine, sediment, or lake habitats and therefore offer a tremendous opportunity for studying the structure and function of different model microbial communities using environmental metagenomics. One of the broader goals of this study was to establish linkages among microbial distribution, metabolic potential, and environmental variables. Twenty geochemically distinct geothermal ecosystems representing a broad spectrum of Yellowstone hot-spring environments were used for metagenomic and geochemical analysis and included approximately equal numbers of: (1) phototrophic mats, (2) "filamentous streamer" communities, and (3) archaeal-dominated sediments. The metagenomes were analyzed using a suite of complementary and integrative bioinformatic tools, including phylogenetic and functional analysis of both individual sequence reads and assemblies of predominant phylotypes. This volume identifies major environmental determinants of a large number of thermophilic microbial lineages, many of which have not been fully described in the literature nor previously cultivated to enable functional and genomic analyses. Moreover, protein family abundance comparisons and in-depth analyses of specific genes and metabolic pathways relevant to these hot-spring environments reveal hallmark signatures of metabolic capabilities that parallel the distribution of phylotypes across specific types of geochemical environments.

  8. In situ expression of eukaryotic ice-binding proteins in microbial communities of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice.

    PubMed

    Uhlig, Christiane; Kilpert, Fabian; Frickenhaus, Stephan; Kegel, Jessica U; Krell, Andreas; Mock, Thomas; Valentin, Klaus; Beszteri, Bánk

    2015-11-01

    Ice-binding proteins (IBPs) have been isolated from various sea-ice organisms. Their characterisation points to a crucial role in protecting the organisms in sub-zero environments. However, their in situ abundance and diversity in natural sea-ice microbial communities is largely unknown. In this study, we analysed the expression and phylogenetic diversity of eukaryotic IBP transcripts from microbial communities of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. IBP transcripts were found in abundances similar to those of proteins involved in core cellular processes such as photosynthesis. Eighty-nine percent of the IBP transcripts grouped with known IBP sequences from diatoms, haptophytes and crustaceans, but the majority represented novel sequences not previously characterized in cultured organisms. The observed high eukaryotic IBP expression in natural eukaryotic sea ice communities underlines the essential role of IBPs for survival of many microorganisms in communities living under the extreme conditions of polar sea ice.

  9. In situ expression of eukaryotic ice-binding proteins in microbial communities of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice

    PubMed Central

    Uhlig, Christiane; Kilpert, Fabian; Frickenhaus, Stephan; Kegel, Jessica U; Krell, Andreas; Mock, Thomas; Valentin, Klaus; Beszteri, Bánk

    2015-01-01

    Ice-binding proteins (IBPs) have been isolated from various sea-ice organisms. Their characterisation points to a crucial role in protecting the organisms in sub-zero environments. However, their in situ abundance and diversity in natural sea-ice microbial communities is largely unknown. In this study, we analysed the expression and phylogenetic diversity of eukaryotic IBP transcripts from microbial communities of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. IBP transcripts were found in abundances similar to those of proteins involved in core cellular processes such as photosynthesis. Eighty-nine percent of the IBP transcripts grouped with known IBP sequences from diatoms, haptophytes and crustaceans, but the majority represented novel sequences not previously characterized in cultured organisms. The observed high eukaryotic IBP expression in natural eukaryotic sea ice communities underlines the essential role of IBPs for survival of many microorganisms in communities living under the extreme conditions of polar sea ice. PMID:25885562

  10. Spatial and successional dynamics of microbial biofilm communities in a grassland stream ecosystem

    DOE PAGES

    Veach, Allison M.; Stegen, James C.; Brown, Shawn P.; ...

    2016-09-06

    Biofilms represent a metabolically active and structurally complex component of freshwater ecosystems. Ephemeral prairie streams are hydrologically harsh and prone to frequent perturbation. Elucidating both functional and structural community changes over time within prairie streams provides a general understanding of microbial responses to environmental disturbance. In this study, we examined microbial succession of biofilm communities at three sites in a third-order stream at Konza Prairie over a 2- to 64-day period. Microbial abundance (bacterial abundance, chlorophyll a concentrations) increased and never plateaued during the experiment. Net primary productivity (net balance of oxygen consumption and production) of the developing biofilms didmore » not differ statistically from zero until 64 days suggesting a balance of the use of autochthonous and allochthonous energy sources until late succession. Bacterial communities (MiSeq analyses of the V4 region of 16S rRNA) established quickly. Bacterial richness, diversity and evenness were high after 2 days and increased over time. Several dominant bacterial phyla (Beta-, Alphaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi) and genera (Luteolibacter, Flavobacterium, Gemmatimonas, Hydrogenophaga) differed in relative abundance over space and time. Bacterial community composition differed across both space and successional time. Pairwise comparisons of phylogenetic turnover in bacterial community composition indicated that early-stage succession (≤16 days) was driven by stochastic processes, whereas later stages were driven by deterministic selection regardless of site. Finally, our data suggest that microbial biofilms predictably develop both functionally and structurally indicating distinct successional trajectories of bacterial communities in this ecosystem.« less

  11. Warming Alters Expressions of Microbial Functional Genes Important to Ecosystem Functioning.

    PubMed

    Xue, Kai; Xie, Jianping; Zhou, Aifen; Liu, Feifei; Li, Dejun; Wu, Liyou; Deng, Ye; He, Zhili; Van Nostrand, Joy D; Luo, Yiqi; Zhou, Jizhong

    2016-01-01

    Soil microbial communities play critical roles in ecosystem functioning and are likely altered by climate warming. However, so far, little is known about effects of warming on microbial functional gene expressions. Here, we applied functional gene array (GeoChip 3.0) to analyze cDNA reversely transcribed from total RNA to assess expressed functional genes in active soil microbial communities after nine years of experimental warming in a tallgrass prairie. Our results showed that warming significantly altered the community wide gene expressions. Specifically, expressed genes for degrading more recalcitrant carbon were stimulated by warming, likely linked to the plant community shift toward more C4 species under warming and to decrease the long-term soil carbon stability. In addition, warming changed expressed genes in labile C degradation and N cycling in different directions (increase and decrease), possibly reflecting the dynamics of labile C and available N pools during sampling. However, the average abundances of expressed genes in phosphorus and sulfur cycling were all increased by warming, implying a stable trend of accelerated P and S processes which might be a mechanism to sustain higher plant growth. Furthermore, the expressed gene composition was closely related to both dynamic (e.g., soil moisture) and stable environmental attributes (e.g., C4 leaf C or N content), indicating that RNA analyses could also capture certain stable trends in the long-term treatment. Overall, this study revealed the importance of elucidating functional gene expressions of soil microbial community in enhancing our understanding of ecosystem responses to warming.

  12. Warming Alters Expressions of Microbial Functional Genes Important to Ecosystem Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Xue, Kai; Xie, Jianping; Zhou, Aifen; Liu, Feifei; Li, Dejun; Wu, Liyou; Deng, Ye; He, Zhili; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Luo, Yiqi; Zhou, Jizhong

    2016-01-01

    Soil microbial communities play critical roles in ecosystem functioning and are likely altered by climate warming. However, so far, little is known about effects of warming on microbial functional gene expressions. Here, we applied functional gene array (GeoChip 3.0) to analyze cDNA reversely transcribed from total RNA to assess expressed functional genes in active soil microbial communities after nine years of experimental warming in a tallgrass prairie. Our results showed that warming significantly altered the community wide gene expressions. Specifically, expressed genes for degrading more recalcitrant carbon were stimulated by warming, likely linked to the plant community shift toward more C4 species under warming and to decrease the long-term soil carbon stability. In addition, warming changed expressed genes in labile C degradation and N cycling in different directions (increase and decrease), possibly reflecting the dynamics of labile C and available N pools during sampling. However, the average abundances of expressed genes in phosphorus and sulfur cycling were all increased by warming, implying a stable trend of accelerated P and S processes which might be a mechanism to sustain higher plant growth. Furthermore, the expressed gene composition was closely related to both dynamic (e.g., soil moisture) and stable environmental attributes (e.g., C4 leaf C or N content), indicating that RNA analyses could also capture certain stable trends in the long-term treatment. Overall, this study revealed the importance of elucidating functional gene expressions of soil microbial community in enhancing our understanding of ecosystem responses to warming. PMID:27199978

  13. Inclusion of Additional Plant Species and Trait Information in Dynamic Vegetation Modeling of Arctic Tundra and Boreal Forest Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Euskirchen, E. S.; Patil, V.; Roach, J.; Griffith, B.; McGuire, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    Dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) have been developed to model the ecophysiological characteristics of plant functional types in terrestrial ecosystems. They have frequently been used to answer questions pertaining to processes such as disturbance, plant succession, and community composition under historical and future climate scenarios. While DVMs have proved useful in these types of applications, it has often been questioned if additional detail, such as including plant dynamics at the species-level and/or including species-specific traits would make these models more accurate and/or broadly applicable. A sub-question associated with this issue is, 'How many species, or what degree of functional diversity, should we incorporate to sustain ecosystem function in modeled ecosystems?' Here, we focus on how the inclusion of additional plant species and trait information may strengthen dynamic vegetation modeling in applications pertaining to: (1) forage for caribou in northern Alaska, (2) above- and belowground carbon storage in the boreal forest and lake margin wetlands of interior Alaska, and (3) arctic tundra and boreal forest leaf phenology. While the inclusion of additional information generally proved valuable in these three applications, this additional detail depends on field data that may not always be available and may also result in increased computational complexity. Therefore, it is important to assess these possible limitations against the perceived need for additional plant species and trait information in the development and application of dynamic vegetation models.

  14. Microbial processes in marine ecosystem models: state of the art and future prospective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polimene, L.; Butenschon, M.; Blackford, J.; Allen, I.

    2012-12-01

    Heterotrophic bacteria play a key role in the marine biogeochemistry being the main consumer of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and the main producer of carbon dioxide (CO2) by respiration. Quantifying the carbon and energy fluxes within bacteria (i.e. production, respiration, overflow metabolism etc.) is therefore crucial for the assessment of the global ocean carbon and nutrient cycles. Consequently, the description of bacteria dynamic in ecosystem models is a key (although challenging) issue which cannot be overlooked if we want to properly simulate the marine environment. We present an overview of the microbial processes described in the European Sea Regional Ecosystem Model (ERSEM), a state of the art biogeochemical model resolving carbon and nutrient cycles (N, P, Si and Fe) within the low trophic levels (up to mesozooplankton) of the marine ecosystem. The description of the theoretical assumptions and philosophy underpinning the ERSEM bacteria sub-model will be followed by the presentation of some case studies highlighting the relevance of resolving microbial processes in the simulation of ecosystem dynamics at a local scale. Recent results concerning the implementation of ERSEM on a global ocean domain will be also presented. This latter exercise includes a comparison between simulations carried out with the full bacteria sub-model and simulations carried out with an implicit parameterization of bacterial activity. The results strongly underline the importance of explicitly resolved bacteria in the simulation of global carbon fluxes. Finally, a summary of the future developments along with issues still open on the topic will be presented and discussed.

  15. Nutrient addition effects on tropical dry forests: a mini-review from microbial to ecosystem scales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powers, Jennifer; Becklund, Kristen; Gei, Maria; Iyengar, Siddarth; Meyer, Rebecca; O'Connell, Christine; Schilling, Erik; Smith, Christina; Waring, Bonnie; Werden, Leland

    2015-06-01

    Humans have more than doubled inputs of reactive nitrogen globally and greatly accelerated the biogeochemical cycles of phosphorus and metals. However, the impacts of increased element mobility on tropical ecosystems remain poorly quantified, particularly for the vast tropical dry forest biome. Tropical dry forests are characterized by marked seasonality, relatively little precipitation, and high heterogeneity in plant functional diversity and soil chemistry. For these reasons, increased nutrient deposition may affect tropical dry forests differently than wet tropical or temperate forests. Here we review studies that investigated how nutrient availability affects ecosystem and community processes from the microsite to ecosystem scales in tropical dry forests. The effects of N and P addition on ecosystem carbon cycling and plant and microbial dynamics depend on forest successional stage, soil parent material and rainfall regime. Responses may depend on whether overall productivity is N- versus P-limited, although data to test this hypothesis are limited. These results highlight the many important gaps in our understanding of tropical dry forest responses to global change. Large-scale experiments are required to resolve these uncertainties.

  16. Influence of Precipitation Regime on Microbial Decomposition Patterns in Semi-Arid Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feris, K. P.; Jilek, C.; Huber, D. P.; Reinhardt, K.; deGraaff, M.; Lohse, K.; Germino, M.

    2011-12-01

    In water-limited semi-arid sagebrush steppe ecosystems predicted changes in climate may manifest as a shift from historically winter/snow-dominated precipitation regimes to one dominated by spring rains. In these ecosystems soil microorganisms play a vital role in linking the effects of water availability and plant productivity to biogeochemical cycling. Patterns of soil microbial catalyzed organic matter decomposition patters (i.e. patterns of extracellular enzyme activity (EEA)) are thought to depend upon the quantity and quality of soil organic matter (SOM), pH, and mean annual precipitation (Sinsabaugh, 2008), and less on the timing and magnitude of precipitation. However, sagebrush-steppe plant communities respond strongly to changes in the timing and magnitude of precipitation, and preliminary findings by our group suggest that corresponding changes in SOM quantity, quality, N-cycle dynamics, and soil structure are occurring. Therefore, we hypothesized: 1) Shifts in the timing and magnitude of precipitation would indirectly affect soil microbial decomposition patterns via responses in the plant community structure; and 2) Changes in precipitation patterns can directly affect soil microbial community structure and function, in effect uncoupling the interaction between plant community structure and soil community structure. We tested our hypotheses by determining the influence of experimentally manipulated timing and magnitude of precipitation on soil microbial EEA using standard flourometric assays in soils sampled under plant canopies and plant interspaces. We assessed this response in a mature (18 + years) ecohydrologic field experiment in eastern Idaho that annually imitates three possible post climatic-shift precipitation regimes (Ambient (AMB): no additional precipitation, ~200mm annually; Summer (SUMM): 200mm provisioned at 50mm bi-weekly starting in June; and Fall/Spring (F/S): 200mm provisioned over 1-2 weeks in October or April) (n=3). Within plant

  17. Metagenomic survey of the taxonomic and functional microbial communities of seawater and sea ice from the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Yergeau, Etienne; Michel, Christine; Tremblay, Julien; Niemi, Andrea; King, Thomas L; Wyglinski, Joanne; Lee, Kenneth; Greer, Charles W

    2017-02-08

    Climate change has resulted in an accelerated decline of Arctic sea ice since 2001 resulting in primary production increases and prolongation of the ice-free season within the Northwest Passage. The taxonomic and functional microbial community composition of the seawater and sea ice of the Canadian Arctic is not very well known. Bacterial communities from the bottom layer of sea ice cores and surface water from 23 locations around Cornwallis Island, NU, Canada, were extensively screened. The bacterial 16S rRNA gene was sequenced for all samples while shotgun metagenomics was performed on selected samples. Bacterial community composition showed large variation throughout the sampling area both for sea ice and seawater. Seawater and sea ice samples harbored significantly distinct microbial communities, both at different taxonomic levels and at the functional level. A key difference between the two sample types was the dominance of algae in sea ice samples, as visualized by the higher relative abundance of algae and photosynthesis-related genes in the metagenomic datasets and the higher chl a concentrations. The relative abundance of various OTUs and functional genes were significantly correlated with multiple environmental parameters, highlighting many potential environmental drivers and ecological strategies.

  18. Metagenomic survey of the taxonomic and functional microbial communities of seawater and sea ice from the Canadian Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Yergeau, Etienne; Michel, Christine; Tremblay, Julien; Niemi, Andrea; King, Thomas L.; Wyglinski, Joanne; Lee, Kenneth; Greer, Charles W.

    2017-01-01

    Climate change has resulted in an accelerated decline of Arctic sea ice since 2001 resulting in primary production increases and prolongation of the ice-free season within the Northwest Passage. The taxonomic and functional microbial community composition of the seawater and sea ice of the Canadian Arctic is not very well known. Bacterial communities from the bottom layer of sea ice cores and surface water from 23 locations around Cornwallis Island, NU, Canada, were extensively screened. The bacterial 16S rRNA gene was sequenced for all samples while shotgun metagenomics was performed on selected samples. Bacterial community composition showed large variation throughout the sampling area both for sea ice and seawater. Seawater and sea ice samples harbored significantly distinct microbial communities, both at different taxonomic levels and at the functional level. A key difference between the two sample types was the dominance of algae in sea ice samples, as visualized by the higher relative abundance of algae and photosynthesis-related genes in the metagenomic datasets and the higher chl a concentrations. The relative abundance of various OTUs and functional genes were significantly correlated with multiple environmental parameters, highlighting many potential environmental drivers and ecological strategies. PMID:28176868

  19. Manganese and iron as structuring parameters of microbial communities in Arctic marine sediments from the Baffin Bay.

    PubMed

    Algora, Camelia; Vasileiadis, Sotirios; Wasmund, Kenneth; Trevisan, Marco; Krüger, Martin; Puglisi, Edoardo; Adrian, Lorenz

    2015-06-01

    The Arctic Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland is sea ice-covered during the majority of the year, restricting primary production to the summer months. Sediments receive low amounts of mostly terrestrial- and less marine-derived organic matter. To study microbial communities constrained by physicochemical conditions changing with distance from land and ocean depth, we applied high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing and compared sequence diversity with biogeochemical parameters in 40 different sediment samples. Samples originated from seven cores down to 470 cm below seafloor along a shelf-to-basin transect. Bacterial diversity decreased faster with depth in basin than in shelf sediments, suggesting higher organic matter content sustained diversity into greater depths. All samples were dominated by Betaproteobacteria (mostly order Burkholderiales), which were especially abundant in basin sediments with low organic carbon and high Mn and Fe pore water concentrations. Strong statistical correlations between concentrations of reduced Mn and/or Fe and the relative abundances of Betaproteobacteria suggest that this group is involved in metal reduction in Baffin Bay sediments. Dehalococcoidia (phylum Chloroflexi) were abundant in all samples, especially in shelf sediments with high organic content. This study indicates that Mn and/or Fe play important roles structuring microbial communities in Arctic sediments poor in organic matter.

  20. Strong Seasonality of Marine Microbial Eukaryotes in a High-Arctic Fjord (Isfjorden, in West Spitsbergen, Norway)

    PubMed Central

    Vader, Anna; Stübner, Eike I.; Reigstad, Marit

    2016-01-01

    The Adventfjorden time series station (IsA) in Isfjorden, West Spitsbergen, Norway, was sampled frequently from December 2011 to December 2012. The community composition of microbial eukaryotes (size, 0.45 to 10 μm) from a depth of 25 m was determined using 454 sequencing of the 18S V4 region amplified from both DNA and RNA. The compositional changes throughout the year were assessed in relation to in situ fjord environmental conditions. Size fractionation analyses of chlorophyll a showed that the photosynthetic biomass was dominated by small cells (<10 μm) most of the year but that larger cells dominated during the spring and summer. The winter and early-spring communities were more diverse than the spring and summer/autumn communities. Dinophyceae were predominant throughout the year. The Arctic Micromonas ecotype was abundant mostly in the early-bloom and fall periods, whereas heterotrophs, such as marine stramenopiles (MASTs), Picozoa, and the parasitoid marine alveolates (MALVs), displayed higher relative abundance in the winter than in other seasons. Our results emphasize the extreme seasonality of Arctic microbial eukaryotic communities driven by the light regime and nutrient availability but point to the necessity of a thorough knowledge of hydrography for full understanding of their succession and variability. PMID:26746718

  1. Strong Seasonality of Marine Microbial Eukaryotes in a High-Arctic Fjord (Isfjorden, in West Spitsbergen, Norway).

    PubMed

    Marquardt, Miriam; Vader, Anna; Stübner, Eike I; Reigstad, Marit; Gabrielsen, Tove M

    2016-01-08

    The Adventfjorden time series station (IsA) in Isfjorden, West Spitsbergen, Norway, was sampled frequently from December 2011 to December 2012. The community composition of microbial eukaryotes (size, 0.45 to 10 μm) from a depth of 25 m was determined using 454 sequencing of the 18S V4 region amplified from both DNA and RNA. The compositional changes throughout the year were assessed in relation to in situ fjord environmental conditions. Size fractionation analyses of chlorophyll a showed that the photosynthetic biomass was dominated by small cells (<10 μm) most of the year but that larger cells dominated during the spring and summer. The winter and early-spring communities were more diverse than the spring and summer/autumn communities. Dinophyceae were predominant throughout the year. The Arctic Micromonas ecotype was abundant mostly in the early-bloom and fall periods, whereas heterotrophs, such as marine stramenopiles (MASTs), Picozoa, and the parasitoid marine alveolates (MALVs), displayed higher relative abundance in the winter than in other seasons. Our results emphasize the extreme seasonality of Arctic microbial eukaryotic communities driven by the light regime and nutrient availability but point to the necessity of a thorough knowledge of hydrography for full understanding of their succession and variability.

  2. A trait-based framework for predicting when and where microbial adaptation to climate change will affect ecosystem functioning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wallenstein, Matthew D.; Hall, Edward K.

    2012-01-01

    As the earth system changes in response to human activities, a critical objective is to predict how biogeochemical process rates (e.g. nitrification, decomposition) and ecosystem function (e.g. net ecosystem productivity) will change under future conditions. A particular challenge is that the microbial communities that drive many of these processes are capable of adapting to environmental change in ways that alter ecosystem functioning. Despite evidence that microbes can adapt to temperature, precipitation regimes, and redox fluctuations, microbial communities are typically not optimally adapted to their local environment. For example, temperature optima for growth and enzyme activity are often greater than in situ temperatures in their environment. Here we discuss fundamental constraints on microbial adaptation and suggest specific environments where microbial adaptation to climate change (or lack thereof) is most likely to alter ecosystem functioning. Our framework is based on two principal assumptions. First, there are fundamental ecological trade-offs in microbial community traits that occur across environmental gradients (in time and space). These trade-offs result in shifting of microbial function (e.g. ability to take up resources at low temperature) in response to adaptation of another trait (e.g. limiting maintenance respiration at high temperature). Second, the mechanism and level of microbial community adaptation to changing environmental parameters is a function of the potential rate of change in community composition relative to the rate of environmental change. Together, this framework provides a basis for developing testable predictions about how the rate and degree of microbial adaptation to climate change will alter biogeochemical processes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems across the planet.

  3. Two years with extreme and little snowfall: effects on energy partitioning and surface energy exchange in a high-Arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stiegler, Christian; Lund, Magnus; Røjle Christensen, Torben; Mastepanov, Mikhail; Lindroth, Anders

    2016-07-01

    Snow cover is one of the key factors controlling Arctic ecosystem functioning and productivity. In this study we assess the impact of strong variability in snow accumulation during 2 subsequent years (2013-2014) on the land-atmosphere interactions and surface energy exchange in two high-Arctic tundra ecosystems (wet fen and dry heath) in Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland. We observed that record-low snow cover during the winter 2012/2013 resulted in a strong response of the heath ecosystem towards low evaporative capacity and substantial surface heat loss by sensible heat fluxes (H) during the subsequent snowmelt period and growing season. Above-average snow accumulation during the winter 2013/2014 promoted summertime ground heat fluxes (G) and latent heat fluxes (LE) at the cost of H. At the fen ecosystem a more muted response of LE, H and G was observed in response to the variability in snow accumulation. Overall, the differences in flux partitioning and in the length of the snowmelt periods and growing seasons during the 2 years had a strong impact on the total accumulation of the surface energy balance components. We suggest that in a changing climate with higher temperature and more precipitation the surface energy balance of this high-Arctic tundra ecosystem may experience a further increase in the variability of energy accumulation, partitioning and redistribution.

  4. Integration of Measurements and Models Across Spatial Scales for Improved Process Understanding in Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wullschleger, S. D.; Collier, N.; Kumar, J.; Painter, S. L.; Thornton, P. E.; Wilson, C. J.

    2014-12-01

    Characterizing the spatial variability of properties and processes in Arctic and boreal landscapes is critical for gaining an understanding of ecosystem functioning and for parameterizing process-rich models that simulate feedbacks to a changing climate. However, large-scale models are often poorly informed by process studies and new approaches are needed if we are to better link field and laboratory investigations to climate models. A fundamental goal of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE Arctic) project is to accelerate improvements in climate prediction through close integration of field, laboratory, and modeling activities. Geomorphological units, including thaw lakes, drained thaw lake basins, and ice-rich polygonal ground provide the organizing framework for our integrated framework for the coastal plains of the North Slope of Alaska. Process studies and observations of hydrology, geomorphology, biogeochemistry, vegetation patterns, and energy exchange and their couplings are being conducted across nested scales to populate a modeling framework and to achieve a broader goal of optimally informing process representations in global-scale models. We investigate the soil thermal regimes and their control on local scale hydrology for sites near Barrow, Alaska, through simulations at sub-meter scale resolution for low-centered, high-centered and transition polygons. We use high-resolution LiDAR and high-fidelity simulations using several models to couple surface-subsurface processes. A central focus of this challenge is to advance process understanding and predicting the evolution of permafrost thaw, degradation (i.e., thermokarst), and disturbance, and their impact on topography in a warming world and how these changes control the availability of water for biogeochemical, ecological, and physical feedbacks to the climate system.

  5. Interactions Between Temperature and Nutrient Availability in Mediating Microbial Respiration in High Arctic Polar Semi-desert Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holland, K. J.; Sullivan, P.; Wallenstein, M.; Arens, S.; Schimel, J. P.; Welker, J. M.

    2005-12-01

    Field respiration measurements in high arctic polar semi-desert in northern Greenland suggest a divergence in respiration rates of microbial communities in fertilization treatments at temperatures above 4°C. We hypothesized that this divergence could be attributed to either greater temperature responsiveness of microbial communities in nitrogen fertilized treatments, or to increased substrate availability in nitrogen fertilization treatments at higher temperatures. Microbial respiration responses to labile substrate addition were equal across fertilization treatments, suggesting that microbial communities had similar temperature sensitivities. To determine whether substrate availability differed between fertilization treatments, we measured 13CO2 of respiration at four temperatures. With increased temperature, rates of CO2 efflux increased and isotopic signatures of respired carbon became lighter, suggesting increasing turnover of more recalcitrant C at higher temperatures. Respiration of nitrogen fertilized soils had lighter 13CO2 signatures than ambient soils, suggesting that nitrogen might increase turnover of more recalcitrant soil carbon. These data suggest the divergence in CO2 efflux in the nitrogen fertilization treatments could be mediated by increasing availability of recalcitrant carbon.

  6. Diversity and seasonal fluctuation of predominant microbial communities in Bhitarkanika, a tropical mangrove ecosystem in India.

    PubMed

    Mishra, Rashmi Ranjan; Swain, Manas Ranjan; Dangar, Tushar Kanti; Thatoi, Hrudayanath

    2012-06-01

    Different groups of microorganisms are present in mangrove areas, and they perform complex interactions for nutrient and ecological balances. Since little is known about microbial populations in mangroves, this study analyzed the microbial community structure and function in relation to soil physico-chemical properties in Bhitarkanika, a tropical mangrove ecosystem in India. Spatial and seasonal fluctuations of thirteen important groups of microorganisms were evaluated from the mangrove forest sediments during different seasons, along with soil physico-chemical parameters. The overall microbial load (x10(5)cfu/g soil) in soil declined in the order of heterotrophic, free living N2 fixing, Gram-negative nitrifying, sulphur oxidizing, Gram-positive, spore forming, denitrifying, anaerobic, phosphate solubilizing, cellulose degrading bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes. Populations of the heterotrophic, phosphate solubilizing, sulphur oxidizing bacteria and fungi were more represented in the rainy season, while, Gram-negative, Gram-positive, nitrifying, denitrifying, cellulose decomposing bacteria and actinomycetes in the winter season. The pool size of most of other microbes either declined or maintained throughout the season. Soil nutrients such as N, P, K (Kg/ha) and total C (%) contents were higher in the rainy season and they did not follow any common trend of changes throughout the study period. Soil pH and salinity (mS/cm) varied from 6-8 and 6.4-19.5, respectively, and they normally affected the microbial population dynamics. Determination of bacterial diversity in Bhitarkanika mangrove soil by culture method showed the predominance of bacterial genera such as Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Desulfotomaculum, Desulfovibrio, Desulfomonas, Methylococcus, Vibrio, Micrococcus, Klebsiella and Azotobacter. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed a correlation among local environmental variables with the sampling locations on the microbial community in the mangrove soil.

  7. Potential sources of microbial colonizers in an initial soil ecosystem after retreat of an alpine glacier.

    PubMed

    Rime, Thomas; Hartmann, Martin; Frey, Beat

    2016-07-01

    Rapid disintegration of alpine glaciers has led to the formation of new terrain consisting of mineral debris colonized by microorganisms. Despite the importance of microbial pioneers in triggering the formation of terrestrial ecosystems, their sources (endogenous versus exogenous) and identities remain elusive. We used 454-pyrosequencing to characterize the bacterial and fungal communities in endogenous glacier habitats (ice, sub-, supraglacial sediments and glacier stream leaving the glacier forefront) and in atmospheric deposition (snow, rain and aeolian dust). We compared these microbial communities with those occurring in recently deglaciated barren soils before and after snow melt (snow-covered soil and barren soil). Atmospheric bacteria and fungi were dominated by plant-epiphytic organisms and differed from endogenous glacier habitats and soils indicating that atmospheric input of microorganisms is not a major source of microbial pioneers in newly formed soils. We found, however, that bacterial communities in newly exposed soils resembled those of endogenous habitats, which suggests that bacterial pioneers originating from sub- and supraglacial sediments contributed to the colonization of newly exposed soils. Conversely, fungal communities differed between habitats suggesting a lower dispersal capability than bacteria. Yeasts putatively adapted to cold habitats characteristic of snow and supraglacial sediments were similar, despite the fact that these habitats were not spatially connected. These findings suggest that environmental filtering selects particular fungi in cold habitats. Atmospheric deposition provided important sources of dissolved organic C, nitrate and ammonium. Overall, microbial colonizers triggering soil development in alpine environments mainly originate from endogenous glacier habitats, whereas atmospheric deposition contributes to the establishment of microbial communities by providing sources of C and N.

  8. Historical and contemporary imagery to assess ecosystem change on the Arctic coastal plain of northern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tape, Ken D.; Pearce, John M.; Walworth, Dennis; Meixell, Brandt W.; Fondell, Tom F.; Gustine, David D.; Flint, Paul L.; Hupp, Jerry W.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Ward, David H.

    2014-01-01

    In this report, we describe and make available a set of 61 georectified aerial images of the Arctic Coastal Plain (taken from 1948 to 2010) that were obtained by the USGS to inform research objectives of the USGS CAE Initiative. Here, we describe the origins, metadata, and public availability of these images that were obtained within four main study areas on the Arctic Coastal Plain: Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, Chipp River, the Colville River Delta, and locations along the Dalton Highway Corridor between the Brooks Range and Deadhorse. We also provide general descriptions of observable changes to the geomorphology of landscapes that are apparent by comparing historical and contemporary images. These landscape changes include altered river corridors, lake drying, coastal erosion, and new vegetation communities. All original and georectified images and metadata are available through the USGS Alaska Science Center Portal (search under ‘Project Name’ using title of this report) or by contacting ascweb@usgs.gov.

  9. Life history traits in a cyclic ecosystem: a field experiment on the arctic fox.

    PubMed

    Meijer, Tomas; Elmhagen, Bodil; Eide, Nina E; Angerbjörn, Anders

    2013-10-01

    The reproduction of many species depends strongly on variation in food availability. The main prey of the arctic fox in Fennoscandia are cyclic small rodents, and its number of litters and litter size vary depending on the phase of the rodent cycle. In this experiment, we studied if the arctic fox adjusts its reproduction as a direct response to food abundance, in accordance with the food limitation hypothesis, or if there are additional phase-dependent trade-offs that influence its reproduction. We analysed the weaning success, i.e. proportion of arctic fox pairs established during mating that wean a litter in summer, of 422 pairs of which 361 were supplementary winter fed, as well as the weaned litter size of 203 litters of which 115 were supplementary winter fed. Females without supplementary winter food over-produced cubs in relation to food abundance in the small rodent increase phase, i.e. the litter size was equal to that in the peak phase when food was more abundant. The litter size for unfed females was 6.38 in the increase phase, 7.11 in the peak phase and 3.84 in the decrease phase. The litter size for supplementary winter-fed litters was 7.95 in the increase phase, 10.61 in the peak phase and 7.86 in the decrease phase. Thus, feeding had a positive effect on litter size, but it did not diminish the strong impact of the small rodent phase, supporting phase-dependent trade-offs in addition to food determining arctic fox reproduction.

  10. Microbial community composition and function in permanently cold seawater and sediments from an arctic fjord of svalbard.

    PubMed

    Teske, A; Durbin, A; Ziervogel, K; Cox, C; Arnosti, C

    2011-03-01

    Heterotrophic microbial communities in seawater and sediments metabolize much of the organic carbon produced in the ocean. Although carbon cycling and preservation depend critically on the capabilities of these microbial communities, their compositions and capabilities have seldom been examined simultaneously at the same site. To compare the abilities of seawater and sedimentary microbial communities to initiate organic matter degradation, we measured the extracellular enzymatic hydrolysis rates of 10 substrates (polysaccharides and algal extracts) in surface seawater and bottom water as well as in surface and anoxic sediments of an Arctic fjord. Patterns of enzyme activities differed between seawater and sediments, not just quantitatively, in accordance with higher cell numbers in sediments, but also in their more diversified enzyme spectrum. Sedimentary microbial communities hydrolyzed all of the fluorescently labeled polysaccharide and algal extracts, in most cases at higher rates in subsurface than surface sediments. In seawater, in contrast, only 5 of the 7 polysaccharides and 2 of the 3 algal extracts were hydrolyzed, and hydrolysis rates in surface and deepwater were virtually identical. To compare bacterial communities, 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed from the same seawater and sediment samples; they diverged strongly in composition. Thus, the broader enzymatic capabilities of the sedimentary microbial communities may result from the compositional differences between seawater and sedimentary microbial communities, rather than from gene expression differences among compositionally similar communities. The greater number of phylum- and subphylum-level lineages and operational taxonomic units in sediments than in seawater samples may reflect the necessity of a wider range of enzymatic capabilities and strategies to access organic matter that has already been degraded during passage through the water column. When transformations of marine organic

  11. Using paleolimnology to track the impacts of early Arctic peoples on freshwater ecosystems from southern Baffin Island, Nunavut

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michelutti, Neal; McCleary, Kathryn M.; Antoniades, Dermot; Sutherland, Patricia; Blais, Jules M.; Douglas, Marianne S. V.; Smol, John P.

    2013-09-01

    Paleolimnological approaches can be used to determine the ways in which past Arctic peoples have affected the ecosystems in which they live, and simultaneously to reconstruct the climate and other aspects of the environment that may have influenced local populations. Here we analyze sediment cores from seven ponds on the south-western coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut, in order to assess the impacts of early Arctic peoples on freshwater ecosystems. Prior to the historic Inuit occupation, the study area was extensively inhabited by Thule culture Inuit (ca 1200-1600 AD) and by an earlier Arctic group, the Dorset culture Palaeo-Eskimos (ca 500 BC-1500 AD) and their predecessors from as early as 2500 BC. The study ponds were selected to cover a gradient of the intensity of human activity in their catchments. The ecological impacts of early hunting societies can be detected using paleolimnology because the butchering of marine mammals released nutrients that eutrophied nearby ponds and left distinct geochemical signals in the sediments. The degree of eutrophication in the small freshwater ponds depended on the length of the occupation, as well as the amount and type of marine mammals taken as primary prey items (eg, whales, walrus, or seals). All sediment cores were AMS 14C dated to establish their chronologies, and analyzed for diatoms and stable isotopes of nitrogen (δ15N). Both diatoms and sedimentary δ15N have been previously demonstrated to respond sensitively to nutrient enrichment from Inuit whalers. Our δ15N and diatom data record nutrient enrichment in lakes surrounded by either long-term Thule or Dorset settlements. The Dorset sites that were the locations of periodic seasonal gatherings did not register any evidence of eutrophication in the nearby ponds, reflecting the shorter, less intensive nature of these occupations. Similarly, nearby control ponds with no evidence of significant human activity in their catchments showed little-to-no changes in δ15N

  12. In situ fluctuations of oxygen and sulphide in marine microbial sediment ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Wit, Rutger; Jonkers, Henk M.; Van Den Ende, Frank P.; Van Gemerden, Hans

    Laminated microbial ecosystems (microbial mats) on the island of Schiermonnikoog (The Netherlands) were studied with respect to variation in oxygen and sulphide profiles, depth distributions of photopigments and viable number and cell volume of purple sulphur bacteria. Cyanobacteria occurred in the top 2 mm, the dominant species being Microcoleus chthonoplastes. The blooming of purple sulphur bacteria below the cyanobacterial layer was observed in autumn, the dominant species being the immotile Thiocapsa roseopersicina. Cell volume of this species is indicative of its growth rate. In situ measurements showed strong diel fluctuations in oxygen and sulphide profiles. Frequently, cyanobacteria and purple sulphur bacteria were exposed to oxygen during the day, and to anoxic conditions at night. Sulphide sometimes reached the layer of the cyanobacteria. The cyanobacteria and the purple sulphur bacteria both are very well adapted to these diel fluctuations. In addition, strong seasonal variations were observed, whereas short-term fluctuations of oxygen occurred due to changing light-climate and rainfall. Attention was paid to the unusual occurrence of microbial mats on the North Sea beach during the autumn of 1987.

  13. [Microbial community abundance and diversity in typical karst ecosystem to indicate soil carbon cycle].

    PubMed

    Jin, Zhen-Jiang; Tang, Hua-Feng; Li, Min; Huang, Bing-Fu; Li, Qiang; Zhang, Jia-Yu; Li, Gui-Wen

    2014-11-01

    The soil microbial characteristics were detected to clarify their indications in organic carbon cycle in karst system. Soil samples from three karst types (saddle, depression and slop) at 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm and 20-30 cm layers were collected in the Yaji Karst Experimental Site, a typical karst ecosystem. The microbial diversity and abundance were assayed using polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) and fluorescence quantitative PCR. The data showed that the highest abundance of 16S rRNA and 18S rRNA were in depression with 1.32 x 10(11) copies x g(-1) and in saddle with 1.12 x 10(10) copies x g(-1), respectively. The abundance of 16S rRNA in saddle and depression decreased from top to bottom, while that of 18S rRNA in three karst forms decreased, which showed that the abundance changed consistently with soil organic carbon (SOC). The 3 diversity indices of 16S rRNA and 6 diversity indices of 18S rRNA increased from top to bottom in soil profiles of three karst forms. These results showed that microbial diversity changed conversely with the abundance and SOC in soil profile. It can be concluded that the abundance was more important than the diversity index for soil carbon cycle in karst system.

  14. A Synthesis of the Effects of Pesticides on Microbial Persistence in Aquatic Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Staley, Zachery R.; Harwood, Valerie J.; Rohr, Jason R.

    2016-01-01

    Pesticides are a pervasive presence in aquatic ecosystems throughout the world. While pesticides are intended to control fungi, insects, and other pests, their mechanisms of action are often not specific enough to prevent unintended effects, such as on non-target microbial populations. Microorganisms, including algae and cyanobacteria, protozoa, aquatic fungi, and bacteria, form the basis of many food webs and are responsible for crucial aspects of biogeochemical cycling; therefore, the potential for pesticides to alter microbial community structures must be understood to preserve ecosystem services. This review examines studies that focused on direct population-level effects and indirect community-level effects of pesticides on microorganisms. Generally, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides were found to have adverse direct effects on algal and fungal species. Insecticides and fungicides also had deleterious direct effects in the majority of studies examining protozoa species, although herbicides were found to have inconsistent direct effects on protozoans. Our synthesis revealed mixed or no direct effects on bacterial species among all pesticide categories, with results highly dependent on the target species, chemical, and concentration used in the study. Examination of community-level, indirect effects revealed that all pesticide categories had a tendency to reduce higher trophic levels, thereby diminishing top-down pressures and favoring lower trophic levels. Often, indirect effects exerted greater influence than direct effects. However, few studies have been conducted to specifically address community-level effects of pesticides on microorganisms and further research is necessary to better understand and predict the net effects of pesticides on ecosystem health. PMID:26565685

  15. Input of easily available organic C and N stimulates microbial decomposition of soil organic matter in arctic permafrost soil.

    PubMed

    Wild, Birgit; Schnecker, Jörg; Alves, Ricardo J Eloy; Barsukov, Pavel; Bárta, Jiří; Capek, Petr; Gentsch, Norman; Gittel, Antje; Guggenberger, Georg; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Mikutta, Robert; Rusalimova, Olga; Santrůčková, Hana; Shibistova, Olga; Urich, Tim; Watzka, Margarete; Zrazhevskaya, Galina; Richter, Andreas

    2014-08-01

    Rising temperatures in the Arctic can affect soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition directly and indirectly, by increasing plant primary production and thus the allocation of plant-derived organic compounds into the soil. Such compounds, for example root exudates or decaying fine roots, are easily available for microorganisms, and can alter the decomposition of older SOM ("priming effect"). We here report on a SOM priming experiment in the active layer of a permafrost soil from the central Siberian Arctic, comparing responses of organic topsoil, mineral subsoil, and cryoturbated subsoil material (i.e., poorly decomposed topsoil material subducted into the subsoil by freeze-thaw processes) to additions of (13)C-labeled glucose, cellulose, a mixture of amino acids, and protein (added at levels corresponding to approximately 1% of soil organic carbon). SOM decomposition in the topsoil was barely affected by higher availability of organic compounds, whereas SOM decomposition in both subsoil horizons responded strongly. In the mineral subsoil, SOM decomposition increased by a factor of two to three after any substrate addition (glucose, cellulose, amino acids, protein), suggesting that the microbial decomposer community was limited in energy to break down more complex components of SOM. In the cryoturbated horizon, SOM decomposition increased by a factor of two after addition of amino acids or protein, but was not significantly affected by glucose or cellulose, indicating nitrogen rather than energy limitation. Since the stimulation of SOM decomposition in cryoturbated material was not connected to microbial growth or to a change in microbial community composition, the additional nitrogen was likely invested in the production of extracellular enzymes required for SOM decomposition. Our findings provide a first mechanistic understanding of priming in permafrost soils and suggest that an increase in the availability of organic carbon or nitrogen, e.g., by increased plant

  16. Input of easily available organic C and N stimulates microbial decomposition of soil organic matter in arctic permafrost soil

    PubMed Central

    Wild, Birgit; Schnecker, Jörg; Alves, Ricardo J. Eloy; Barsukov, Pavel; Bárta, Jiří; Čapek, Petr; Gentsch, Norman; Gittel, Antje; Guggenberger, Georg; Lashchinskiy, Nikolay; Mikutta, Robert; Rusalimova, Olga; Šantrůčková, Hana; Shibistova, Olga; Urich, Tim; Watzka, Margarete; Zrazhevskaya, Galina; Richter, Andreas

    2014-01-01

    Rising temperatures in the Arctic can affect soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition directly and indirectly, by increasing plant primary production and thus the allocation of plant-derived organic compounds into the soil. Such compounds, for example root exudates or decaying fine roots, are easily available for microorganisms, and can alter the decomposition of older SOM (“priming effect”). We here report on a SOM priming experiment in the active layer of a permafrost soil from the central Siberian Arctic, comparing responses of organic topsoil, mineral subsoil, and cryoturbated subsoil material (i.e., poorly decomposed topsoil material subducted into the subsoil by freeze–thaw processes) to additions of 13C-labeled glucose, cellulose, a mixture of amino acids, and protein (added at levels corresponding to approximately 1% of soil organic carbon). SOM decomposition in the topsoil was barely affected by higher availability of organic compounds, whereas SOM decomposition in both subsoil horizons responded strongly. In the mineral subsoil, SOM decomposition increased by a factor of two to three after any substrate addition (glucose, cellulose, amino acids, protein), suggesting that the microbial decomposer community was limited in energy to break down more complex components of SOM. In the cryoturbated horizon, SOM decomposition increased by a factor of two after addition of amino acids or protein, but was not significantly affected by glucose or cellulose, indicating nitrogen rather than energy limitation. Since the stimulation of SOM decomposition in cryoturbated material was not connected to microbial growth or to a change in microbial community composition, the additional nitrogen was likely invested in the production of extracellular enzymes required for SOM decomposition. Our findings provide a first mechanistic understanding of priming in permafrost soils and suggest that an increase in the availability of organic carbon or nitrogen, e.g., by increased

  17. Methane fluxes show consistent temperature dependence across microbial to ecosystem scales.

    PubMed

    Yvon-Durocher, Gabriel; Allen, Andrew P; Bastviken, David; Conrad, Ralf; Gudasz, Cristian; St-Pierre, Annick; Thanh-Duc, Nguyen; del Giorgio, Paul A

    2014-03-27

    Methane (CH4) is an important greenhouse gas because it has 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2) by mass over a century. Recent calculations suggest that atmospheric CH4 emissions have been responsible for approximately 20% of Earth's warming since pre-industrial times. Understanding how CH4 emissions from ecosystems will respond to expected increases in global temperature is therefore fundamental to predicting whether the carbon cycle will mitigate or accelerate climate change. Methanogenesis is the terminal step in the remineralization of organic matter and is carried out by strictly anaerobic Archaea. Like most other forms of metabolism, methanogenesis is temperature-dependent. However, it is not yet known how this physiological response combines with other biotic processes (for example, methanotrophy, substrate supply, microbial community composition) and abiotic processes (for example, water-table depth) to determine the temperature dependence of ecosystem-level CH4 emissions. It is also not known whether CH4 emissions at the ecosystem level have a fundamentally different temperature dependence than other key fluxes in the carbon cycle, such as photosynthesis and respiration. Here we use meta-analyses to show that seasonal variations in CH4 emissions from a wide range of ecosystems exhibit an average temperature dependence similar to that of CH4 production derived from pure cultures of methanogens and anaerobic microbial communities. This average temperature dependence (0.96 electron volts (eV)), which corresponds to a 57-fold increase between 0 and 30°C, is considerably higher than previously observed for respiration (approximately 0.65 eV) and photosynthesis (approximately 0.3 eV). As a result, we show that both the emission of CH4 and the ratio of CH4 to CO2 emissions increase markedly with seasonal increases in temperature. Our findings suggest that global warming may have a large impact on the relative contributions of CO2 and CH

  18. Carbon and nitrogen isotope studies in an arctic ecosystem. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Schell, D.M.

    1994-06-01

    The dynamics of carbon fixation and storage in tundra soils has received considerable attention with respect to global carbon cycling. Recent findings by investigators using chamber measurements of fixation/respiration rates in arctic tundra have led to the conclusion that tundra is no longer storing carbon but is instead a source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The author has sought to test these conclusions and to determine methods by which the long-term accumulation or loss of carbon in tundra can be determined. Little is known, however, of the processes that control storage and the current rates of carbon fixation and peat formation in arctic Alaska. This project focused on several aspects of carbon dynamics and the roles of decomposition and herbivory at the DOE research site at Imnavait Creek, Alaska. Through the use of natural abundance stable and radioisotope techniques, several conclusions emerged. Peat carbon continues to accumulate in wetter areas of foothill valleys and on the coastal plain of arctic Alaska. Radiocarbon profiles of bomb {sup 14}C were used to date layers of vegetation and litter to obtain decomposition rates and to extrapolate these values to intersection with the permafrost horizon where further decomposition is assumed to cease. Carbon storage in riparian moss at Imnavait Creek was estimated at 3 g C/m{sup 2}-yr. Profiles of {sup 137}Cs closely matched those of {sup 14}C and may provide a more expeditious means of assessing recent carbon accumulation rates in tundra. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in tundra vegetation vary markedly over hydrologic gradients in apparent response to changing growth rates and sources of nitrogenous nutrients. Within a taxon, {delta}{sup 15}N values varied by several {per_thousand} over a tens of meters distance.

  19. Heterogeneous archaeal communities in the particle-rich environment of an arctic shelf ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galand, Pierre E.; Lovejoy, Connie; Pouliot, Jérémie; Vincent, Warwick F.

    2008-12-01

    We evaluated the phylogenetic diversity of particle-associated and free-living archaeal assemblages from the Mackenzie River and Beaufort Sea in the western Canadian Arctic. The physico-chemical characteristics of the water separated the sampling sites into three groups: riverine, coastal and marine water, which had strikingly different archaeal communities. The riverine water was characterised by the presence of Euryarchaeota mainly belonging to the LDS and RC-V clusters. The coastal water was also dominated by Euryarchaeota but they were mostly affiliated to Group II.a. The marine waters contained most exclusively Crenarchaeota belonging to the Marine Group I.1a. The results suggest that Euryarchaeota in the coastal surface layer are associated with particle-rich waters, while Crenarchaeota are more characteristic of Arctic Ocean waters that have been less influenced by riverine inputs. The particle-associated communities were similar to the free-living ones at the riverine and marine sites but differed from each other at the coastal site in terms of the presence or absence of some taxonomic groups in one of the fractions, or differences in the proportion of the phylogenetic groups. However, there was no specific archaeal group that was exclusively restricted to the free-living or particle fraction, and the diversity of the particle-associated archaeal assemblages did not significantly differ from the diversity of the free-living communities.

  20. Functional resilience of microbial ecosystems in soil: How important is a spatial analysis?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    König, Sara; Banitz, Thomas; Centler, Florian; Frank, Karin; Thullner, Martin

    2015-04-01

    Microbial life in soil is exposed to fluctuating environmental conditions influencing the performance of microbially mediated ecosystem services such as biodegradation of contaminants. However, as this environment is typically very heterogeneous, spatial aspects can be expected to play a major role for the ability to recover from a stress event. To determine key processes for functional resilience, simple scenarios with varying stress intensities were simulated within a microbial simulation model and the biodegradation rate in the recovery phase monitored. Parameters including microbial growth and dispersal rates were varied over a typical range to consider microorganisms with varying properties. Besides an aggregated temporal monitoring, the explicit observation of the spatio-temporal dynamics proved essential to understand the recovery process. For a mechanistic understanding of the model system, scenarios were also simulated with selected processes being switched-off. Results of the mechanistic and the spatial view show that the key factors for functional recovery with respect to biodegradation after a simple stress event depend on the location of the observed habitats. The limiting factors near unstressed areas are spatial processes - the mobility of the bacteria as well as substrate diffusion - the longer the distance to the unstressed region the more important becomes the process growth. Furthermore, recovery depends on the stress intensity - after a low stress event the spatial configuration has no influence on the key factors for functional resilience. To confirm these results, we repeated the stress scenarios but this time including an additional dispersal network representing a fungal network in soil. The system benefits from an increased spatial performance due to the higher mobility of the degrading microorganisms. However, this effect appears only in scenarios where the spatial distribution of the stressed area plays a role. With these simulations we

  1. Microbial Enzymatic Response to Reduced Precipitation and Added Nitrogen in a Southern California Grassland Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alster, C. J.; German, D.; Allison, S. D.

    2011-12-01

    Microbial enzymes play a fundamental role in ecosystem processes and nutrient mineralization. Although there have been many studies concluding that global climate change affects plant communities, the effects on microbial communities in leaf litter have been much less studied. We measured extracellular enzyme activities in litter decomposing in plots with either reduced precipitation or increased nitrogen in a grassland ecosystem in Loma Ridge National Landmark in Southern California. We used a reciprocal transplant design to examine the effects of plot treatment, litter origin, and microbial community origin on litter decomposition and extracellular enzyme activity. Our hypothesis was that increased nitrogen would increase activity because nitrogen often limits microbial growth, while decreased precipitation would decrease activity due to lower litter moisture levels. Samples were collected in March 2011 and analyzed for the activities of cellobiohydrolase (CBH), β-glucosidase (BG), α-glucosidase (AG), N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG), β-xylosidase (BX), acid phosphatase (AP), and leucine aminopeptidase (LAP). None of the factors in the nitrogen manipulation had a significant effect on any of the enzymes, although BG, CBH, and NAG increased marginally significantly in plots with nitrogen addition (p = 0.103, p = 0.082, and p = 0.114, respectively). For the precipitation manipulation, AG, BG, BX, CBH, and NAG significantly increased in plots with reduced precipitation (p = 0.015, p <0.001, p<0.001, and p<0.001, respectively) while LAP significantly decreased (p = 0.002). LAP catalyzes the hydrolysis of polypeptides, so reduced LAP activity could result in lower rates of enzyme turnover in the reduced precipitation treatment. We also observed that AP significantly increased (p = 0.014) in litter originating from reduced precipitation plots, while AG, BX, and LAP significantly decreased (p = 0.011, p = 0.031, and 0.005, respectively). There were no significant

  2. Lepidoptera Larvae as an Indicator of Multi-trophic Level Responses to Changing Seasonality in an Arctic Tundra Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daly, K. M.; Steltzer, H.; Boelman, N.; Weintraub, M. N.; Darrouzet-Nardi, A.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Sullivan, P.; Gough, L.; Rich, M.; Hendrix, C.; Kielland, K.; Philip, K.; Doak, P.; Ferris, C.; Sikes, D.

    2011-12-01

    Earlier snowmelt and warming temperatures in the Arctic will impact multiple trophic levels through the timing and availability of food resources. Lepidoptera are a vital link within the ecosystem; their roles include pollinator, parasitized host for other pollinating insects, and essential food source for migrating birds and their fledglings. Multiple environmental cues including temperature initiate plant growth, and in turn, trigger the emergence of Lepidoptera and the migrations of birds. If snowmelt is accelerated and temperature is increased, it is expected that the Lepidoptera larvae will respond to early plant growth by increasing their abundance within areas that have accelerated snowmelt and warmer conditions. In May of 2011 in a moist acidic tussock tundra system, we accelerated snowmelt by 15 days through the use of radiation-absorbing fabric and warmed air and soil temperatures using open-top chambers, individually and in combination. Every 1-2 days from May 27th to July 8th, 2 minute searches were performed for Lepidoptera larvae in all treatments; when an animal was found, their micro-habitat, surface temperature, behavior, food source, and time of day were noted. The length, body and head width were measured, and the animals were examined for braconid wasp and tachinid fly parasites. Lepidoptera larvae collected in pitfall traps from May 26th to July 7th were also examined and measured. Total density of parasitized larvae accounted for 54% of observed specimens and 50% of pitfall specimens, indicating that Lepidoptera larvae serve an integral role as a host for other pollinators. Total larvae density was highest within the accelerated snowmelt plots compared to the control plots; 66% of observed live specimens and 63% of pitfall specimens were found within the accelerated snowmelt plots. Ninety percent of the total observed animals were found within the open-top warming chambers. Peak density of animals occurred at Solar Noon between 14:00 -15

  3. Earth's Earliest Ecosystems in the C: The Use of Microbial Mats to Demonstrate General Principles of Scientific Inquiry and Microbial Ecology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bebout, Brad M.; Bucaria, Robin

    2006-01-01

    Microbial mats are living examples of the most ancient biological communities on Earth. As Earth's earliest ecosystems, they are centrally important to understanding the history of life on our planet and are useful models for the search for life elsewhere. As relatively compact (but complete) ecosystems, microbial mats are also extremely useful for educational activities. Mats may be used to demonstrate a wide variety of concepts in general and microbial ecology, including the biogeochemical cycling of elements, photosynthesis and respiration, and the origin of the Earth's present oxygen containing atmosphere. Microbial mats can be found in a number of common environments accessible to teachers, and laboratory microbial mats can be constructed using materials purchased from biological supply houses. With funding from NASA's Exobiology program, we have developed curriculum and web-based activities centered on the use of microbial mats as tools for demonstrating general principles in ecology, and the scientific process. Our web site (http://microbes.arc.nasa.gov) includes reference materials, lesson plans, and a "Web Lab", featuring living mats maintained in a mini-aquarium. The site also provides information as to how research on microbial mats supports NASA's goals, and various NASA missions. A photo gallery contains images of mats, microscopic views of the organisms that form them, and our own research activities. An animated educational video on the web site uses computer graphic and video microscopy to take students on a journey into a microbial mat. These activities are targeted to a middle school audience and are aligned with the National Science Standards.

  4. Nitrogen fixation in distinct microbial niches within a chemoautotrophy-driven cave ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Desai, Mahesh S; Assig, Karoline; Dattagupta, Sharmishtha

    2013-12-01

    Microbial sulfur and carbon cycles in ecosystems driven by chemoautotrophy-present at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and sulfidic caves-have been studied to some extent, yet little is known about nitrogen fixation in these systems. Using a comprehensive approach comprising of (15)N2 isotope labeling, acetylene reduction assay and nitrogenase gene expression analyses, we investigated nitrogen fixation in the sulfide-rich, chemoautotrophy-based Frasassi cave ecosystem (Italy). Nitrogen fixation was examined in three different microbial niches within the cave waters: (1) symbiotic bacterial community of Niphargus amphipods, (2) Beggiatoa-dominated biofilms, which occur at the sulfide-oxygen interface, and (3) sulfidic sediment. We found evidence for nitrogen fixation in all the three niches, and the nitrogenase gene (homologs of nifH) expression data clearly show niche differentiation of diazotrophic Proteobacteria within the water streams. The nifH transcript originated from the symbiotic community of Niphargus amphipods might belong to the Thiothrix ectosymbionts. Two abundantly expressed nifH genes in the Beggiatoa-dominated biofilms are closely related to those from Beggiatoa- and Desulfovibrio-related bacteria. These two diazotrophs were consistently found in Beggiatoa-dominated biofilms collected at various time points, thus illustrating species-specific associations of the diazotrophs in biofilm formation, and micron-scale niche partitioning of sulfur-oxidizing and sulfate-reducing bacteria driven by steep redox gradients within the biofilm. Finally, putative heterotrophs (Geobacter, Azoarcus and Desulfovibrio related) were the active diazotrophs in the sulfidic sediment. Our study is the first to shed light on nitrogen fixation in permanently dark caves and suggests that diazotrophy may be widespread in chemosynthetic communities.

  5. Nitrogen fixation in distinct microbial niches within a chemoautotrophy-driven cave ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Desai, Mahesh S; Assig, Karoline; Dattagupta, Sharmishtha

    2013-01-01

    Microbial sulfur and carbon cycles in ecosystems driven by chemoautotrophy—present at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and sulfidic caves—have been studied to some extent, yet little is known about nitrogen fixation in these systems. Using a comprehensive approach comprising of 15N2 isotope labeling, acetylene reduction assay and nitrogenase gene expression analyses, we investigated nitrogen fixation in the sulfide-rich, chemoautotrophy-based Frasassi cave ecosystem (Italy). Nitrogen fixation was examined in three different microbial niches within the cave waters: (1) symbiotic bacterial community of Niphargus amphipods, (2) Beggiatoa-dominated biofilms, which occur at the sulfide–oxygen interface, and (3) sulfidic sediment. We found evidence for nitrogen fixation in all the three niches, and the nitrogenase gene (homologs of nifH) expression data clearly show niche differentiation of diazotrophic Proteobacteria within the water streams. The nifH transcript originated from the symbiotic community of Niphargus amphipods might belong to the Thiothrix ectosymbionts. Two abundantly expressed nifH genes in the Beggiatoa-dominated biofilms are closely related to those from Beggiatoa- and Desulfovibrio-related bacteria. These two diazotrophs were consistently found in Beggiatoa-dominated biofilms collected at various time points, thus illustrating species-specific associations of the diazotrophs in biofilm formation, and micron-scale niche partitioning of sulfur-oxidizing and sulfate-reducing bacteria driven by steep redox gradients within the biofilm. Finally, putative heterotrophs (Geobacter, Azoarcus and Desulfovibrio related) were the active diazotrophs in the sulfidic sediment. Our study is the first to shed light on nitrogen fixation in permanently dark caves and suggests that diazotrophy may be widespread in chemosynthetic communities. PMID:23924780

  6. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN CULTURABLE SOIL MICROBIAL POPULATIONS AND GROSS NITROGEN TRANSFORMATION PROCESSES IN A CLAY LOAM SOIL ACROSS ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The size and quality of soil organic matter (SOM) pool can vary between ecosystems and can affect many soil properties. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between gross N transformation rates and microbial populations and to investigate the role that SOM...

  7. [A data collection program focused on hydrologic and meteorologic parameters in an Arctic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Kane, D.

    1992-01-01

    The hydrologic cycle of an arctic watershed is dominated by such physical elements as snow, ice, permafrost, seasonally frozen soils, wide fluctuations in surface energy balance and phase change of snow and ice to water. At Imnavait basin, snow accumulation begins in September or early October and maximum snowpack water equivalent is reached just prior to the onset of ablation in mid May. No significant mid winter melt occurs in this basin. Considerable snowfall redistribution by wind to depressions and valley bottom is evident. Spring snowmelt on the North Slope of Alaska is the dominant hydrologic event of the year.This event provides most of the moisture for use by vegetation in the spring and early summer period. The mechanisms and timing of snowmelt are important factors in predicting runoff, the migrations of birds and large mammals and the diversity of plant communities. It is important globally due to the radical and abrupt change in the surface energy balance over vast areas. We were able to explore the trends and differences in the snowmelt process along a transect from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Coastal plain. Snowpack ablation was monitored at three sites. These data were analyzed along with meteorologic data at each site. The initiation of ablation was site specific being largely controlled by the complementary addition of energy from radiation and sensible heat flux. Although the research sites were only 115 km apart, the rates and mechanisms of snowmelt varied greatly. Usually, snowmelt begins at the mid-elevations in the foothills and progresses northerly toward the coast and southerly to the mountains. In the more southerly areas snowmelt progressed much faster and was more influenced by sensible heat advected from areas south of the Brooks Range. In contrast snowmelt in the more northerly areas was slower and the controlled by net radiation.

  8. [A data collection program focused on hydrologic and meteorologic parameters in an Arctic ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Kane, D.

    1992-12-31

    The hydrologic cycle of an arctic watershed is dominated by such physical elements as snow, ice, permafrost, seasonally frozen soils, wide fluctuations in surface energy balance and phase change of snow and ice to water. At Imnavait basin, snow accumulation begins in September or early October and maximum snowpack water equivalent is reached just prior to the onset of ablation in mid May. No significant mid winter melt occurs in this basin. Considerable snowfall redistribution by wind to depressions and valley bottom is evident. Spring snowmelt on the North Slope of Alaska is the dominant hydrologic event of the year.This event provides most of the moisture for use by vegetation in the spring and early summer period. The mechanisms and timing of snowmelt are important factors in predicting runoff, the migrations of birds and large mammals and the diversity of plant communities. It is important globally due to the radical and abrupt change in the surface energy balance over vast areas. We were able to explore the trends and differences in the snowmelt process along a transect from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Coastal plain. Snowpack ablation was monitored at three sites. These data were analyzed along with meteorologic data at each site. The initiation of ablation was site specific being largely controlled by the complementary addition of energy from radiation and sensible heat flux. Although the research sites were only 115 km apart, the rates and mechanisms of snowmelt varied greatly. Usually, snowmelt begins at the mid-elevations in the foothills and progresses northerly toward the coast and southerly to the mountains. In the more southerly areas snowmelt progressed much faster and was more influenced by sensible heat advected from areas south of the Brooks Range. In contrast snowmelt in the more northerly areas was slower and the controlled by net radiation.

  9. The effect of a permafrost disturbance on growing-season carbon-dioxide fluxes in a high Arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassidy, Alison E.; Christen, Andreas; Henry, Gregory H. R.

    2016-04-01

    Soil carbon stored in high-latitude permafrost landscapes is threatened by warming and could contribute significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and hydrosphere as permafrost thaws. Thermokarst and permafrost disturbances, especially active layer detachments and retrogressive thaw slumps, are present across the Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island, Canada. To determine the effects of retrogressive thaw slumps on net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 in high Arctic tundra, we used two eddy covariance (EC) tower systems to simultaneously and continuously measure CO2 fluxes from a disturbed site and the surrounding undisturbed tundra. During the 32-day measurement period in the 2014 growing season, the undisturbed tundra was a small net sink (NEE = -0.1 g C m-2 d-1); however, the disturbed terrain of the retrogressive thaw slump was a net source (NEE = +0.4 g C m-2 d-1). Over the measurement period, the undisturbed tundra sequestered 3.8 g C m-2, while the disturbed tundra released 12.5 g C m-2. Before full leaf-out in early July, the undisturbed tundra was a small source of CO2 but shifted to a sink for the remainder of the sampling season (July), whereas the disturbed tundra remained a source of CO2 throughout the season. A static chamber system was also used to measure daytime fluxes in the footprints of the two towers, in both disturbed and undisturbed tundra, and fluxes were partitioned into ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production (GPP). Average GPP and Re found in disturbed tundra were smaller (+0.40 µmol m-2 s-1 and +0.55 µmol m-2 s-1, respectively) than those found in undisturbed tundra (+1.19 µmol m-2 s-1 and +1.04 µmol m-2 s-1, respectively). Our measurements indicated clearly that the permafrost disturbance changed the high Arctic tundra system from a sink to a source for CO2 during the majority of the growing season (late June and July).

  10. The effect of a permafrost disturbance on growing-season carbon-dioxide fluxes in a high Arctic tundra ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassidy, A. E.; Christen, A.; Henry, G. H. R.

    2015-12-01

    Soil carbon stored in high-latitude permafrost landscapes is threatened by warming, and could contribute significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and hydrosphere as permafrost thaws. Permafrost disturbances, especially active layer detachments and retrogressive thaw slumps, have increased in frequency and magnitude across the Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island, Canada. To determine the effects of retrogressive thaw slumps on net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of CO2 in high Arctic tundra, we used two eddy covariance (EC) tower systems to simultaneously and continuously measure CO2 fluxes from a disturbed site and the surrounding undisturbed tundra. During the 32-day measurement period in the 2014 growing season the undisturbed tundra was a small net sink (NEE = -0.12 g C m-2 d-1); however, the disturbed terrain of the retrogressive thaw slump was a net source (NEE = +0.39 g C m-2 d-1). Over the measurement period, the undisturbed tundra sequestered 3.84 g C m-2, while the disturbed tundra released 12.48 g C m-2. Before full leaf out in early July, the undisturbed tundra was a small source of CO2, but shifted to a sink for the remainder of the sampling season (July), whereas the disturbed tundra remained a source of CO2 throughout the season. A static chamber system was also used to measure fluxes in the footprints of the two towers, in both disturbed and undisturbed tundra, and fluxes were partitioned into ecosystem respiration (Re) and gross primary production (GPP). Average GPP and Re found in disturbed tundra were smaller (+0.41 μmol m-2 s-1 and +0.50 μmol m-2 s-1, respectively) than those found in undisturbed tundra (+1.21 μmol m-2 s-1 and +1.00 μmol m-2 s-1, respectively). Our measurements indicated clearly that the permafrost disturbance changed the high Arctic tundra system from a sink to a source for CO2 during the growing season.

  11. Elevated CO2: Impact on diurnal patterns of photosynthesis in natural microbial ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rothschild, L. J.

    1994-01-01

    Algae, including blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), are the major source of fixed carbon in many aquatic ecosystems. Previous work has shown that photosynthetic carbon fixation is often enhanced in the presence of additional carbon dioxide (CO2). This study was undertaken to determine if this CO2 fertilization effect extended to microbial mats, and, if so, at what times during the day might the addition of CO2 affect carbon fixation. Four microbial mats from diverse environments were selected, including mats from a hypersaline pond (area 5, Exportadora de Sal, Mexico), the marine intertidal (Lyngbya, Laguna Ojo de Liebre, Mexico), an acidic hotspring (Cyanidium, Nymph Creek, Yellowstone National Park), and an acidic stream at ambient temperature (Zygogonium, Yellowstone National Park). Carbon fixation in the absence of additional CO2 essentially followed the rising and falling sunlight levels, except that during the middle of the day there was a short dip in carbon fixation rates. The addition of CO2 profoundly enhanced carbon fixation rates during the daylight hours, including during the midday dip. Therefore, it is unlikely that the midday dip was due to photoinhibition. Surprisingly, enhancement of carbon fixation was often greatest in the early morning or late afternoon, times when carbon fixation would be most likely to be light limited.

  12. Shifting species interaction in soil microbial community and its influence on ecosystem functions modulating.

    PubMed

    Li, Hua; Colica, Giovanni; Wu, Pei-pei; Li, Dunhai; Rossi, Federico; De Philippis, Roberto; Liu, Yongding

    2013-04-01

    The supportive and negative evidence for the stress gradient hypothesis (SGH) led to an ongoing debate among ecologists and called for new empirical and theoretical work. In this study, we took various biological soil crust (BSCs) samples along a spatial gradient with four environmental stress levels to examine the fitness of SGH in microbial interactions and evaluate its influence on biodiversity-function relationships in BSCs. A new assessment method of species interactions within hard-cultured invisible soil community was employed, directly based on denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprint images. The results showed that biotic interactions in soil phototroph community dramatically shifted from facilitation to dominant competition with the improvement of microhabitats. It offered new evidence, which presented a different perspective on the hypothesis that the relative importance of facilitation and competition varies inversely along the gradient of abiotic stress. The path analysis indicated that influence of biotic interactions (r = 0.19, p < 0.05) on ecosystem functions is lower than other community properties (r = 0.62, p < 0.001), including soil moisture, crust coverage, and biodiversity. Furthermore, the correlation between species interactions and community properties was non-significant with low negative influence (r = -0.27, p > 0.05). We demonstrate that the inversion of biotic interaction as a response to the gradient of abiotic stresses existed not only in the visible plant community but also in the soil microbial community.

  13. Diversity of key players in the microbial ecosystems of the human body

    PubMed Central

    Jordán, Ferenc; Lauria, Mario; Scotti, Marco; Nguyen, Thanh-Phuong; Praveen, Paurush; Morine, Melissa; Priami, Corrado

    2015-01-01

    Coexisting bacteria form various microbial communities in human body parts. In these ecosystems they interact in various ways and the properties of the interaction network can be related to the stability and functional diversity of the local bacterial community. In this study, we analyze the interaction network among bacterial OTUs in 11 locations of the human body. These belong to two major groups. One is the digestive system and the other is the female genital tract. In each local ecosystem we determine the key species, both the ones being in key positions in the interaction network and the ones that dominate by frequency. Beyond identifying the key players and discussing their biological relevance, we also quantify and compare the properties of the 11 networks. The interaction networks of the female genital system and the digestive system show totally different architecture. Both the topological properties and the identity of the key groups differ. Key groups represent four phyla of prokaryotes. Some groups appear in key positions in several locations, while others are assigned only to a single body part. The key groups of the digestive and the genital tracts are totally different. PMID:26514870

  14. Towards Predictive Modeling of Information Processing in Microbial Ecosystems With Quorum-Sensing Interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yusufaly, Tahir; Boedicker, James

    Bacteria communicate using external chemical signals in a process known as quorum sensing. However, the efficiency of this communication is reduced by both limitations on the rate of diffusion over long distances and potential interference from neighboring strains. Therefore, having a framework to quantitatively predict how spatial structure and biodiversity shape information processing in bacterial colonies is important, both for understanding the evolutionary dynamics of natural microbial ecosystems, and for the rational design of synthetic ecosystems with desired computational properties. As a first step towards these goals, we implement a reaction-diffusion model to study the dynamics of a LuxI/LuxR quorum sensing circuit in a growing bacterial population. The spatiotemporal concentration profile of acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) signaling molecules is analyzed, and used to define a measure of physical and functional signaling network connectivity. From this, we systematically investigate how different initial distributions of bacterial populations influence the subsequent efficiency of collective long-range signal propagation in the population. We compare our results with known experimental data, and discuss limitations and extensions to our modeling framework.-/abstract-

  15. Diversity of key players in the microbial ecosystems of the human body.

    PubMed

    Jordán, Ferenc; Lauria, Mario; Scotti, Marco; Nguyen, Thanh-Phuong; Praveen, Paurush; Morine, Melissa; Priami, Corrado

    2015-10-30

    Coexisting bacteria form various microbial communities in human body parts. In these ecosystems they interact in various ways and the properties of the interaction network can be related to the stability and functional diversity of the local bacterial community. In this study, we analyze the interaction network among bacterial OTUs in 11 locations of the human body. These belong to two major groups. One is the digestive system and the other is the female genital tract. In each local ecosystem we determine the key species, both the ones being in key positions in the interaction network and the ones that dominate by frequency. Beyond identifying the key players and discussing their biological relevance, we also quantify and compare the properties of the 11 networks. The interaction networks of the female genital system and the digestive system show totally different architecture. Both the topological properties and the identity of the key groups differ. Key groups represent four phyla of prokaryotes. Some groups appear in key positions in several locations, while others are assigned only to a single body part. The key groups of the digestive and the genital tracts are totally different.

  16. Soil microbial respiration (CO2) of natural and anthropogenically-transformed ecosystems in Moscow region, Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivashchenko, Kristina; Ananyeva, Nadezhda; Rogovaya, Sofia; Vasenev, Viacheslav

    2016-04-01

    The CO2 concentration in modern atmosphere is increasing and one of the most reasons of it is land use changing. It is related not only with soil plowing, but also with growing urbanization and, thereby, forming the urban ecosystems. Such conversion of soil cover might be affected by efflux CO2 from soil into atmosphere. The soil CO2 efflux mainly supplies by soil microorganisms respiration (contribution around 70-90%) and plant roots respiration. Soil microbial respiration (MR) is determined in the field (in situ) and laboratory (in vitro) conditions. The measurement of soil MR in situ is labour-consuming, and for district, region and country areas it is difficult carried. We suggest to define the MR of the upper highest active 10 cm mineral soil layer (in vitro) followed by the accounting of area for different ecosystems in large region of Russia. Soils were sampled (autumn, 2011) in natural (forest, meadow) and anthropogenically-transformed (arable, urban) ecosystems of Sergiev-Posad, Taldom, Voskresenk, Shatura, Serpukhov and Serbryanye Prudy districts in Moscow region. In soil samples (total 156) the soil MR (24 h, 22°C, 60% WHC) were measured after preincubation procedure (7 d., 22°C, 55% WHC). The soil MR ranged from 0.13 (urban) to 5.41 μg CO2-C g-1 h-1 (meadow), the difference between these values was 42 times. Then, the soil MR values (per unit soil weight) were calculated per unit soil area (1 m2), the layer thickness of which was 0.1 m (soil volume weight was equaled 1 g cm-3). The high MR values were noted for forests soil (832-1410 g CO2-C m-2 yr-1) of studied districts, and the low MR values were for arable and urban soils (by 1.6-3.2 and 1.3-2.7 times less compared to forests, respectively). The MR rate of urban soil in Voskresenk district was comparable to that of corresponding meadows and it was even higher (in average by 2.3 times) in Serpukhov district. The soil MR rate of studied cities was higher by 20%, than in corresponding arable soils

  17. Linking potential denitrification rates to microbial gene abundances in multiple boreal ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petersen, D. G.; Blazewicz, S.; Herman, D. J.; Firestone, M. K.; Waldrop, M. P.

    2010-12-01

    The composition and functioning of boreal ecosystems are vulnerable to changes in climate, leading to changes in season length, fire regimes, and soil moisture status. To investigate the influence of vegetation and soil moisture on microbial nitrogen cycling several disparate boreal ecosystems was studied. The two primary objectives were to: (1) determine whether process rates could be predicted solely from soil physical and chemical characteristics and (2) determine if the abundance of functional genes could be an additional explanatory variable. Surface soils were sampled along an elevation-driven hydrologic gradient at the Bonanza Creek LTER that corresponds with five plant communities typical of interior Alaska. The plant communities included a black spruce stand, a deciduous stand, a tussock grassland, an emergent fen, and a rich fen. We examined the chemical composition of the surface organic moss and soil, measured gross N-mineralization, potential rates of nitrification and denitrification (DEA), and abundances of several functional groups of microorganisms from soil cores collected in mid summer. We used quantitative PCR to assess the gene abundances of ammonia oxidizers and denitrifiers based on a functional gene approach. Here, we focus on potential denitrification rates (PDR), and abundance of denitrifyers carrying NirS and NirK genes (nitrate reductase) and NosZ genes (nitrous oxide reductase). PDR increased dramatically with increasing soil moisture along the gradient, from 1 mg N/m2/h at the dry black spruce site to 300 mg N/m2/h in the rich fen, which is very high compared to other poorly drained soil environments. PDR were linearly related to the abundance of functional genes from the microorganisms responsible for this process. Abundances of NirS, NirK and NosZ genes correlated significantly to PDR (r2 = 0.61 p < 0.0001, r2 = 0.45 p < 0.0003, r2 = 0.81 p < 0.0001, respectively). In addition, PDR were better explained by functional gene abundances

  18. Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Perkins, George B.; Iversen, Colleen M.; Chowdhury, Taniya Roy; Romanovsky, Vladimir E.; Graham, David E.; Norby, Richard J.; Wilson, Cathy J.; Wullschleger, Stan D.

    2015-06-08

    The nitrate (NO₃⁻) dual isotope approach was applied to snowmelt, tundra active layer pore waters, and underlying permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, USA, to distinguish between NO₃⁻ derived from at NO₃⁻ signal with δ¹⁵N averaging –4.8 ± 1.0‰ (standard error of the mean) and δ¹⁸O averaging 70.2 ±1.7‰. In active layer pore waters, NO₃⁻ primarily occurred at concentrations suitable for isotopic analysis in the relatively dry and oxic centers of high-centered polygons. The average δ¹⁵N and δ¹⁸O of NO₃⁻ from high-centered polygons were 0.5 ± 1.1‰ and –4.1 ± 0.6‰, respectively. When compared to the δ¹⁵N of reduced nitrogen (N) sources, and the δ¹⁸O of soil pore waters, it was evident that NO₃⁻ in high-centered polygons was primarily from microbial nitrification. Permafrost NO₃⁻ had δ¹⁵N ranging from approximately –6‰ to 10‰, similar to atmospheric and microbial NO₃⁻, and highly variable δ¹⁸O ranging from approximately –2‰ to 38‰. Permafrost ice wedges contained a significant atmospheric component of NO₃⁻, while permafrost textural ice contained a greater proportion of microbially derived NO₃⁻. Large-scale permafrost thaw in this environment would release NO₃⁻ with a δ¹⁸O signature intermediate to that of atmospheric and microbial NO₃. Consequently, while atmospheric and microbial sources can be readily distinguished by the NO₃⁻ dual isotope technique in tundra environments, attribution of NO₃⁻ from thawing permafrost will not be straightforward. The NO₃⁻ isotopic signature, however, appears useful in identifying NO₃⁻ sources in extant permafrost ice.

  19. Isotopic identification of soil and permafrost nitrate sources in an Arctic tundra ecosystem

    DOE PAGES

    Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; ...

    2015-06-08

    The nitrate (NO₃⁻) dual isotope approach was applied to snowmelt, tundra active layer pore waters, and underlying permafrost in Barrow, Alaska, USA, to distinguish between NO₃⁻ derived from at NO₃⁻ signal with δ¹⁵N averaging –4.8 ± 1.0‰ (standard error of the mean) and δ¹⁸O averaging 70.2 ±1.7‰. In active layer pore waters, NO₃⁻ primarily occurred at concentrations suitable for isotopic analysis in the relatively dry and oxic centers of high-centered polygons. The average δ¹⁵N and δ¹⁸O of NO₃⁻ from high-centered polygons were 0.5 ± 1.1‰ and –4.1 ± 0.6‰, respectively. When compared to the δ¹⁵N of reduced nitrogen (N) sources,more » and the δ¹⁸O of soil pore waters, it was evident that NO₃⁻ in high-centered polygons was primarily from microbial nitrification. Permafrost NO₃⁻ had δ¹⁵N ranging from approximately –6‰ to 10‰, similar to atmospheric and microbial NO₃⁻, and highly variable δ¹⁸O ranging from approximately –2‰ to 38‰. Permafrost ice wedges contained a significant atmospheric component of NO₃⁻, while permafrost textural ice contained a greater proportion of microbially derived NO₃⁻. Large-scale permafrost thaw in this environment would release NO₃⁻ with a δ¹⁸O signature intermediate to that of atmospheric and microbial NO₃. Consequently, while atmospheric and microbial sources can be readily distinguished by the NO₃⁻ dual isotope technique in tundra environments, attribution of NO₃⁻ from thawing permafrost will not be straightforward. The NO₃⁻ isotopic signature, however, appears useful in identifying NO₃⁻ sources in extant permafrost ice.« less

  20. Reconstructing the Genetic Potential of the Microbially-Mediated Nitrogen Cycle in a Salt Marsh Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Dini-Andreote, Francisco; Brossi, Maria Julia de L.; van Elsas, Jan Dirk; Salles, Joana F.

    2016-01-01

    Coastal ecosystems are considered buffer zones for the discharge of land-derived nutrients without accounting for potential negative side effects. Hence, there is an urgent need to better understand the ecological assembly and dynamics of the microorganisms that are involved in nitrogen (N) cycling in such systems. Here, we employed two complementary methodological approaches (i.e., shotgun metagenomics and quantitative PCR) to examine the distribution and abundance of selected microbial genes involved in N transformations. We used soil samples collected along a well-established pristine salt marsh soil chronosequence that spans over a century of ecosystem development at the island of Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands. Across the examined soil successional stages, the structure of the populations of genes involved in N cycling processes was strongly related to (shifts in the) soil nitrogen levels (i.e., NO3−, NH4+), salinity and pH (explaining 73.8% of the total variation, R2 = 0.71). Quantification of the genes used as proxies for N fixation, nitrification and denitrification revealed clear successional signatures that corroborated the taxonomic assignments obtained by metagenomics. Notably, we found strong evidence for niche partitioning, as revealed by the abundance and distribution of marker genes for nitrification (ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea) and denitrification (nitrite reductase nirK, nirS and nitrous oxide reductase nosZ clades I and II). This was supported by a distinct correlation between these genes and soil physico-chemical properties, such as soil physical structure, pH, salinity, organic matter, total N, NO3−, NH4+ and SO42−, across four seasonal samplings. Overall, this study sheds light on the successional trajectories of microbial N cycle genes along a naturally developing salt marsh ecosystem. The data obtained serve as a foundation to guide the formulation of ecological models that aim to effectively monitor and manage pristine

  1. Beyond arctic and alpine: the influence of winter climate on temperate ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Ladwig, Laura M; Ratajczak, Zak R; Ocheltree, Troy W; Hafich, Katya A; Churchill, Amber C; Frey, Sarah J K; Fuss, Colin B; Kazanski, Clare E; Muñoz, Juan D; Petrie, Matthew D; Reinmann, Andrew B; Smith, Jane G

    2016-02-01

    Winter climate is expected to change under future climate scenarios, yet the majority of winter ecology research is focused in cold-climate ecosystems. In many temperate systems, it is unclear how winter climate relates to biotic responses during the growing season. The objective of this study was to examine how winter weather relates to plant and animal communities in a variety of terrestrial ecosystems ranging from warm deserts to alpine tundra. Specifically, we examined the association between winter weather and plant phenology, plant species richness, consumer abundance, and consumer richness in 11 terrestrial ecosystems associated with the U.S. Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. To varying degrees, winter precipitation and temperature were correlated with all biotic response variables. Bud break was tightly aligned with end of winter temperatures. For half the sites, winter weather was a better predictor of plant species richness than growing season weather. Warmer winters were correlated with lower consumer abundances in both temperate and alpine systems. Our findings suggest winter weather may have a strong influence on biotic activity during the growing season and should be considered in future studies investigating the effects of climate change on both alpine and temperate systems.

  2. The resilience and functional role of moss in boreal and arctic ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Turetsky, M.; Bond-Lamberty, B.; Euskirchen, E.S.; Talbot, J. J.; Frolking, S.; McGuire, A.D.; Tuittila, E.S.

    2012-01-01

    Mosses in northern ecosystems are ubiquitous components of plant communities, and strongly influence nutrient, carbon and water cycling. We use literature review, synthesis and model simulations to explore the role of mosses in ecological stability and resilience. Moss community responses to disturbance showed all possible responses (increases, decreases, no change) within most disturbance categories. Simulations from two process-based models suggest that northern ecosystems would need to experience extreme perturbation before mosses were eliminated. But simulations with two other models suggest that loss of moss will reduce soil carbon accumulation primarily by influencing decomposition rates and soil nitrogen availability. It seems clear that mosses need to be incorporated into models as one or more plant functional types, but more empirical work is needed to determine how to best aggregate species. We highlight several issues that have not been adequately explored in moss communities, such as functional redundancy and singularity, relationships between response and effect traits, and parameter vs conceptual uncertainty in models. Mosses play an important role in several ecosystem processes that play out over centuries – permafrost formation and thaw, peat accumulation, development of microtopography – and there is a need for studies that increase our understanding of slow, long-term dynamical processes.

  3. The state of microbial complexes in soils of forest ecosystems after fires and defoliation of stands by gypsy moths

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogorodskaya, A. V.; Baranchikov, Yu. N.; Ivanova, G. A.

    2009-03-01

    The state of microbial cenoses in the soils of forest ecosystems damaged by fires of different strengths and gypsy moth outbreaks (Central Siberia) was assessed by the intensity of the basal respiration, the content of carbon of the microbial biomass, and the microbial metabolic quotient. The degree of the disturbance of the microbial cenoses in the soils under pine forests after fires was higher than that in the soils under the forests defoliated by gypsy moths. The greatest changes of the microbial complexes were recorded after the fires of high and medium intensity. In the litters, the content of the microbial biomass, the intensity of basal respiration, and the microbial metabolic quotient value were restored on the fifth year after the fires, whereas in the upper (0-10 cm) soil layer, these parameters still differed from those in the control variant, especially after the highly intense fires. After the weak fires, the ecophysiological state of the microbial complexes was restored within two-three years.

  4. Impacts of a recent storm surge on an Arctic delta ecosystem examined in the context of the last millennium.

    PubMed

    Pisaric, Michael F J; Thienpont, Joshua R; Kokelj, Steven V; Nesbitt, Holly; Lantz, Trevor C; Solomon, Steven; Smol, John P

    2011-05-31

    One of the most ominous predictions related to recent climatic warming is that low-lying coastal environments will be inundated by higher sea levels. The threat is especially acute in polar regions because reductions in extent and duration of sea ice cover increase the risk of storm surge occurrence. The Mackenzie Delta of northwest Canada is an ecologically significant ecosystem adapted to freshwater flooding during spring breakup. Marine storm surges during the open-water season, which move saltwater into the delta, can have major impacts on terrestrial and aquatic systems. We examined growth rings of alder shrubs (Alnus viridis subsp. fruticosa) and diatoms preserved in dated lake sediment cores to show that a recent marine storm surge in 1999 caused widespread ecological changes across a broad extent of the outer Mackenzie Delta. For example, diatom assemblages record a striking shift from freshwater to brackish species following the inundation event. What is of particular significance is that the magnitude of this recent ecological impact is unmatched over the > 1,000-year history of this lake ecosystem. We infer that no biological recovery has occurred in this lake, while large areas of terrestrial vegetation remain dramatically altered over a decade later, suggesting that these systems may be on a new ecological trajectory. As climate continues to warm and sea ice declines, similar changes will likely be repeated in other coastal areas of the circumpolar Arctic. Given the magnitude of ecological changes recorded in this study, such impacts may prove to be long lasting or possibly irreversible.

  5. Soil carbon sensitivity to temperature and carbon use efficiency compared across microbial-ecosystem models of varying complexity

    SciTech Connect

    Li, Jianwei; Wang, Gangsheng; Allison, Steven D.; Mayes, Melanie; Luo, Yiqi

    2014-01-01

    Global ecosystem models may require microbial components to accurately predict feedbacks between climate warming and soil decomposition, but it is unclear what parameters and levels of complexity are ideal for scaling up to the globe. Here we conducted a model comparison using a conventional model with first-order decay and three microbial models of increasing complexity that simulate short- to long-term soil carbon dynamics. We focused on soil carbon responses to microbial carbon use efficiency (CUE) and temperature. Three scenarios were implemented in all models: constant CUE (held at 0.31), varied CUE ( 0.016 C 1), and 50 % acclimated CUE ( 0.008 C 1). Whereas the conventional model always showed soil carbon losses with increasing temperature, the microbial models each predicted a temperature threshold above which warming led to soil carbon gain. The location of this threshold depended on CUE scenario, with higher temperature thresholds under the acclimated and constant scenarios. This result suggests that the temperature sensitivity of CUE and the structure of the soil carbon model together regulate the long-term soil carbon response to warming. Equilibrium soil carbon stocks predicted by the microbial models were much less sensitive to changing inputs compared to the conventional model. Although many soil carbon dynamics were similar across microbial models, the most complex model showed less pronounced oscillations. Thus, adding model complexity (i.e. including enzyme pools) could improve the mechanistic representation of soil carbon dynamics during the transient phase in certain ecosystems. This study suggests that model structure and CUE parameterization should be carefully evaluated when scaling up microbial models to ecosystems and the globe.

  6. Experiences in multiyear combined state-parameter estimation with an ecosystem model of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans using the Ensemble Kalman Filter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simon, Ehouarn; Samuelsen, Annette; Bertino, Laurent; Mouysset, Sandrine

    2015-12-01

    A sequence of one-year combined state-parameter estimation experiments has been conducted in a North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean configuration of the coupled physical-biogeochemical model HYCOM-NORWECOM over the period 2007-2010. The aim is to evaluate the ability of an ensemble-based data assimilation method to calibrate ecosystem model parameters in a pre-operational setting, namely the production of the MyOcean pilot reanalysis of the Arctic biology. For that purpose, four biological parameters (two phyto- and two zooplankton mortality rates) are estimated by assimilating weekly data such as, satellite-derived Sea Surface Temperature, along-track Sea Level Anomalies, ice concentrations and chlorophyll-a concentrations with an Ensemble Kalman Filter. The set of optimized parameters locally exhibits seasonal variations suggesting that time-dependent parameters should be used in ocean ecosystem models. A clustering analysis of the optimized parameters is performed in order to identify consistent ecosystem regions. In the north part of the domain, where the ecosystem model is the most reliable, most of them can be associated with Longhurst provinces and new provinces emerge in the Arctic Ocean. However, the clusters do not coincide anymore with the Longhurst provinces in the Tropics due to large model errors. Regarding the ecosystem state variables, the assimilation of satellite-derived chlorophyll concentration leads to significant reduction of the RMS errors in the observed variables during the first year, i.e. 2008, compared to a free run simulation. However, local filter divergences of the parameter component occur in 2009 and result in an increase in the RMS error at the time of the spring bloom.

  7. Hydrocarbon biodegradation by Arctic sea-ice and sub-ice microbial communities during microcosm experiments, Northwest Passage (Nunavut, Canada).

    PubMed

    Garneau, Marie-Ève; Michel, Christine; Meisterhans, Guillaume; Fortin, Nathalie; King, Thomas L; Greer, Charles W; Lee, Kenneth

    2016-10-01

    The increasing accessibility to navigation and offshore oil exploration brings risks of hydrocarbon releases in Arctic waters. Bioremediation of hydrocarbons is a promising mitigation strategy but challenges remain, particularly due to low microbial metabolic rates in cold, ice-covered seas. Hydrocarbon degradation potential of ice-associated microbes collected from the Northwest Passage was investigated. Microcosm incubations were run for 15 days at -1.7°C with and without oil to determine the effects of hydrocarbon exposure on microbial abundance, diversity and activity, and to estimate component-specific hydrocarbon loss. Diversity was assessed with automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis and Ion Torrent 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Bacterial activity was measured by (3)H-leucine uptake rates. After incubation, sub-ice and sea-ice communities degraded 94% and 48% of the initial hydrocarbons, respectively. Hydrocarbon exposure changed the composition of sea-ice and sub-ice communities; in sea-ice microcosms, Bacteroidetes (mainly Polaribacter) dominated whereas in sub-ice microcosms, the contribution of Epsilonproteobacteria increased, and that of Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes decreased. Sequencing data revealed a decline in diversity and increases in Colwellia and Moritella in oil-treated microcosms. Low concentration of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in sub-ice seawater may explain higher hydrocarbon degradation when compared to sea ice, where DOM was abundant and composed of labile exopolysaccharides.

  8. Minor impact of ocean acidification to the composition of the active microbial community in an Arctic sediment.

    PubMed

    Tait, Karen; Laverock, Bonnie; Shaw, Jennifer; Somerfield, Paul J; Widdicombe, Steve

    2013-12-01

    Effects of ocean acidification on the composition of the active bacterial and archaeal community within Arctic surface sediment was analysed in detail using 16S rRNA 454 pyrosequencing. Intact sediment cores were collected and exposed to one of five different pCO(2) concentrations [380 (present day), 540, 750, 1120 and 3000 μatm] and RNA extracted after a period of 14 days exposure. Measurements of diversity and multivariate similarity indicated very little difference between pCO(2) treatments. Only when the highest and lowest pCO(2) treatments were compared were significant differences evident, namely increases in the abundance of operational taxonomic units most closely related to the Halobacteria and differences to the presence/absence structure of the Planctomycetes. The relative abundance of members of the classes Planctomycetacia and Nitrospira increased with increasing pCO(2) concentration, indicating that these groups may be able to take advantage of changing pH or pCO(2) conditions. The modest response of the active microbial communities associated with these sediments may be due to the low and fluctuating pore-water pH already experienced by sediment microbes, a result of the pH buffering capacity of marine sediments, or due to currently unknown factors. Further research is required to fully understand the impact of elevated CO(2) on sediment physicochemical parameters, biogeochemistry and microbial community dynamics.

  9. Aphid-willow interactions in a high Arctic ecosystem: responses to raised temperature and goose disturbance.

    PubMed

    Gillespie, Mark A K; Jónsdóttir, Ingibjörg S; Hodkinson, Ian D; Cooper, Elisabeth J

    2013-12-01

    Recently, there have been several studies using open top chambers (OTCs) or cloches to examine the response of Arctic plant communities to artificially elevated temperatures. Few, however, have investigated multitrophic systems, or the effects of both temperature and vertebrate grazing treatments on invertebrates. This study investigated trophic interactions between an herbivorous insect (Sitobion calvulum, Aphididae), a woody perennial host plant (Salix polaris) and a selective vertebrate grazer (barnacle geese, Branta leucopsis). In a factorial experiment, the responses of the insect and its host to elevated temperatures using open top chambers (OTCs) and to three levels of goose grazing pressure were assessed over two summer growing seasons (2004 and 2005). OTCs significantly enhanced the leaf phenology of Salix in both years and there was a significant OTC by goose presence interaction in 2004. Salix leaf number was unaffected by treatments in both years, but OTCs increased leaf size and mass in 2005. Salix reproduction and the phenology of flowers were unaffected by both treatments. Aphid densities were increased by OTCs but unaffected by goose presence in both years. While goose presence had little effect on aphid density or host plant phenology in this system, the OTC effects provide interesting insights into the possibility of phenological synchrony disruption. The advanced phenology of Salix effectively lengthens the growing season for the plant, but despite a close association with leaf maturity, the population dynamics of the aphid appeared to lack a similar phenological response, except for the increased population observed.

  10. Predicting ecosystem carbon balance in a warming Arctic: the importance of long-term thermal acclimation potential and inhibitory effects of light on respiration.

    PubMed

    McLaughlin, Blair C; Xu, Cheng-Yuan; Rastetter, Edward B; Griffin, Kevin L

    2014-06-01

    The carbon balance of Arctic ecosystems is particularly sensitive to global environmental change. Leaf respiration (R), a temperature-dependent key process in determining the carbon balance, is not well-understood in Arctic plants. The potential for plants to acclimate to warmer conditions could strongly impact future global carbon balance. Two key unanswered questions are (1) whether short-term temperature responses can predict long-term respiratory responses to growth in elevated temperatures and (2) to what extent the constant daylight conditions of the Arctic growing season inhibit leaf respiration. In two dominant Arctic species Eriophorum vaginatum (tussock grass) and Betula nana (woody shrub), we assessed the extent of respiratory inhibition in the light (RL/RD), respiratory response to short-term temperature change, and respiratory acclimation to long-term warming treatments. We found that R of both species is strongly inhibited by light (averaging 35% across all measurement temperatures). In E. vaginatum both RL and RD acclimated to the long-term warming treatment, reducing the magnitude of respiratory response relative to the short-term response to temperature increase. In B. nana, both RL and RD responded to short-term temperature increase but showed no acclimation to the long-term warming. The ability to predict plant respiratory response to global warming with short-term temperature responses will depend on species-specific acclimation potential and the differential response of RL and RD to temperature. With projected woody shrub encroachment in Arctic tundra and continued warming, changing species dominance between these two functional groups, may impact ecosystem respiratory response and carbon balance.

  11. Modelling carbon responses of tundra ecosystems to historical and projected climate: Sensitivity of pan-Arctic carbon storage to temporal and spatial variation in climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McGuire, A.D.; Clein, J.S.; Melillo, J.M.; Kicklighter, D.W.; Meier, R.A.; Vorosmarty, C.J.; Serreze, M.C.

    2000-01-01

    Historical and projected climate trends for high latitudes show substantial temporal and spatial variability. To identify uncertainties in simulating carbon (C) dynamics for pan-Arctic tundra, we compare the historical and projected responses of tundra C storage from 1921 to 2100 between simulations by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Model (TEM) for the pan-Arctic and the Kuparuk River Basin, which was the focus of an integrated study of C dynamics from 1994 to 1996. In the historical period from 1921 to 1994, the responses of net primary production (NPP) and heterotrophic respiration (RH) simulated for the Kuparuk River Basin and the pan-Arctic are correlated with the same factors; NPP is positively correlated with net nitrogen mineralization (NMIN) and RH is negatively correlated with mean annual soil moisture. In comparison to the historical period, the spatially aggregated responses of NPP and RH for the Kuparuk River Basin and the pan-Arctic in our simulations for the projected period have different sensitivities to temperature, soil moisture and NMIN. In addition to being sensitive to soil moisture during the projected period, RH is also sensitive to temperature and there is a significant correlation between RH and NMIN. We interpret the increases in NPP during the projected period as being driven primarily by increases in NMIN, and that the correlation between NPP and temperature in the projected period is a result primarily of the causal linkage between temperature, RH, and NMIN. Although similar factors appear to be controlling simulated regional-and biome-scale C dynamics, simulated C dynamics at the two scales differ in magnitude with higher increases in C storage simulated for the Kuparuk River Basin than for the pan-Arctic at the end of the historical period and throughout the projected period. Also, the results of the simulations indicate that responses of C storage show different climate sensitivities at regional and pan-Arctic spatial scales and that

  12. Does microbial community structure matter for predicting ecosystem function? Use of statistical models to examine relationships between the environment, community and processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nemergut, D.; Graham, E. B.

    2014-12-01

    Microorganisms control all major biogeochemical cycles, yet the importance of microbial community structure for ecosystem function is widely debated. Indeed, few nutrient cycling models directly account for variation in community structure, leading some researchers to speculate that this information could provide important and missing explanatory power to predict ecosystem function. However, if variation in environmental variables strongly correlates with variation in microbial community composition, then information on microbial community composition may not improve models. Here, we use a data synthesis approach to ask when and where information on the microbial community matters for predictions of ecosystem function. We collated data from approximately 100 different studies and used statistical approaches to ask if models with data on microbial community composition significantly improved models of ecosystem function based on environmental data alone. We found that only 25% of models of ecosystem processes were significantly improved with the addition of data on microbial community composition. Specifically, we found that for phylogenetically broad processes, diversity indicators yielded more significant increases in explanatory power than abundance data. Our results also demonstrate that for phylogenetically narrow processes, qPCR data on functional genes yielded higher explanatory power than for broad processes. Further, we found that all types of data on microbial community composition explained more variation in obligate processes compared to facultative processes. Overall, our results suggest that trait distributions both within communities and within individuals affect the relative importance of microbial community composition for explaining ecosystem function.

  13. Soil resources and climate jointly drive variations in microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen in China's forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Z. H.; Wang, C. K.

    2015-07-01

    Microbial metabolism plays a key role in regulating the biogeochemical cycle of forest ecosystems, but the mechanisms driving microbial growth are not well understood. Here, we synthesized 689 measurements on soil microbial biomass carbon (Cmic) and nitrogen (Nmic) and related parameters from 207 independent studies published during the past 15 years across China's forest ecosystems. Our objectives were to (1) examine patterns in Cmic, Nmic, and microbial quotient (i.e., Cmic / Csoil and Nmic / Nsoil rates) by climate zones and management regimes for these forests; and (2) identify the factors driving the variability in the Cmic, Nmic, and microbial quotient. There was a large variability in Cmic (390.2 mg kg-1), Nmic (60.1 mg kg-1), Cmic : Nmic ratio (8.25), Cmic / Csoil rate (1.92 %), and Nmic/ Nsoil rate (3.43 %) across China's forests, with coefficients of variation varying from 61.2 to 95.6 %. The natural forests had significantly greater Cmic and Nmic than the planted forests, but had less Cmic : Nmic ratio and Cmic / Csoil rate. Soil resources and climate together explained 24.4-40.7 % of these variations. The Cmic : Nmic ratio declined slightly with the Csoil : Nsoil ratio, and changed with latitude, mean annual temperature and precipitation, suggesting a plastic homeostasis of microbial carbon-nitrogen stoichiometry. The Cmic/ Csoil and Nmic / Nsoil rates were responsive to soil resources and climate differently, suggesting that soil microbial assimilation of carbon and nitrogen be regulated by different mechanisms. We conclude that soil resources and climate jointly drive microbial growth and metabolism, and also emphasize the necessity of appropriate procedures for data compilation and standardization in cross-study syntheses.

  14. Correlating microbial community profiles with geochemical data in highly stratified sediments from the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge.

    PubMed

    Jorgensen, Steffen Leth; Hannisdal, Bjarte; Lanzén, Anders; Baumberger, Tamara; Flesland, Kristin; Fonseca, Rita; Ovreås, Lise; Steen, Ida H; Thorseth, Ingunn H; Pedersen, Rolf B; Schleper, Christa

    2012-10-16

    Microbial communities and their associated metabolic activity in marine sediments have a profound impact on global biogeochemical cycles. Their composition and structure are attributed to geochemical and physical factors, but finding direct correlations has remained a challenge. Here we show a significant statistical relationship between variation in geochemical composition and prokaryotic community structure within deep-sea sediments. We obtained comprehensive geochemical data from two gravity cores near the hydrothermal vent field Loki's Castle at the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge, in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. Geochemical properties in the rift valley sediments exhibited strong centimeter-scale stratigraphic variability. Microbial populations were profiled by pyrosequencing from 15 sediment horizons (59,364 16S rRNA gene tags), quantitatively assessed by qPCR, and phylogenetically analyzed. Although the same taxa were generally present in all samples, their relative abundances varied substantially among horizons and fluctuated between Bacteria- and Archaea-dominated communities. By independently summarizing covariance structures of the relative abundance data and geochemical data, using principal components analysis, we found a significant correlation between changes in geochemical composition and changes in community structure. Differences in organic carbon and mineralogy shaped the relative abundance of microbial taxa. We used correlations to build hypotheses about energy metabolisms, particularly of the Deep Sea Archaeal Group, specific Deltaproteobacteria, and sediment lineages of potentially anaerobic Marine Group I Archaea. We demonstrate that total prokaryotic community structure can be directly correlated to geochemistry within these sediments, thus enhancing our understanding of biogeochemical cycling and our ability to predict metabolisms of uncultured microbes in deep-sea sediments.

  15. Ecosystem characteristics and processes facilitating persistent macrobenthic biomass hotspots and associated benthivory in the Pacific Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grebmeier, Jacqueline M.; Bluhm, Bodil A.; Cooper, Lee W.; Danielson, Seth L.; Arrigo, Kevin R.; Blanchard, Arny L.; Clarke, Janet T.; Day, Robert H.; Frey, Karen E.; Gradinger, Rolf R.; Kędra, Monika; Konar, Brenda; Kuletz, Kathy J.; Lee, Sang H.; Lovvorn, James R.; Norcross, Brenda L.; Okkonen, Stephen R.

    2015-08-01

    The northern Bering and Chukchi Seas are areas in the Pacific Arctic characterized by high northward advection of Pacific Ocean water, with seasonal variability in sea ice cover, water mass characteristics, and benthic processes. In this review, we evaluate the biological and environmental factors that support communities of benthic prey on the continental shelves, with a focus on four macrofaunal biomass "hotspots." For the purpose of this study, we define hotspots as macrofaunal benthic communities with high biomass that support a corresponding ecological guild of benthivorous seabird and marine mammal populations. These four benthic hotspots are regions within the influence of the St. Lawrence Island Polynya (SLIP), the Chirikov Basin between St. Lawrence Island and Bering Strait (Chirikov), north of Bering Strait in the southeast Chukchi Sea (SECS), and in the northeast Chukchi Sea (NECS). Detailed benthic macrofaunal sampling indicates that these hotspot regions have been persistent over four decades of sampling due to annual reoccurrence of seasonally consistent, moderate-to-high water column production with significant export of carbon to the underlying sediments. We also evaluate the usage of the four benthic hotspot regions by benthic prey consumers to illuminate predator-prey connectivity. In the SLIP hotspot, spectacled eiders and walruses are important winter consumers of infaunal bivalves and polychaetes, along with epibenthic gastropods and crabs. In the Chirikov hotspot, gray whales have historically been the largest summer consumers of benthic macrofauna, primarily feeding on ampeliscid amphipods in the summer, but they are also foraging further northward in the SECS and NECS hotspots. Areas of concentrated walrus foraging occur in the SLIP hotspot in winter and early spring, the NECS hotspot in summer, and the SECS hotspot in fall. Bottom up forcing by hydrography and food supply to the benthos influences persistence and composition of benthic prey

  16. Modern to millennium-old greenhouse gases emitted from freshwater ecosystems of the eastern Canadian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouchard, F.; Laurion, I.; Preskienis, V.; Fortier, D.; Xu, X.; Whiticar, M. J.

    2015-07-01

    Ponds and lakes are widespread across the rapidly changing permafrost environments. Aquatic systems play an important role in global biogeochemical cycles, especially in greenhouse gas (GHG) exchanges between terrestrial systems and the atmosphere. The source, speciation and emission of carbon released from permafrost landscapes are strongly influenced by local specific conditions rather than general environmental setting. This study reports on GHG ages and emission rates from aquatic systems on Bylot Island in the eastern Canadian Arctic. Dissolved and ebullition gas samples were collected during the summer season from different types of water bodies located in a highly dynamic periglacial valley: polygonal ponds, collapsed ice-wedge trough ponds, and larger lakes overlying unfrozen soils (talik). The results showed strikingly different ages and fluxes depending on aquatic system types. Polygonal ponds were net sinks of dissolved CO2, but variable sources of dissolved CH4. They presented the highest ebullition fluxes, one or two orders of magnitude higher than from other ponds and lakes. Trough ponds appeared as substantial GHG sources, especially when their edges were actively eroding. Both types of ponds produced modern to hundreds of years old (<550 yr BP) GHG, even if trough ponds could contain much older carbon (>2000 yr BP) derived from freshly eroded peat. Lakes had small dissolved and ebullition fluxes, however they released much older GHG, including millennium-old CH4 (up to 3500 yr BP) sampled from lake central areas. Acetoclastic methanogenesis dominated at all study sites and there was minimal, if any, methane oxidation in gas emitted through ebullition. These findings provide new insights on the variable role of permafrost aquatic systems as a positive feedback mechanism on climate.

  17. Deep Microbial Ecosystems in the U.S. Great Basin: A Second Home for Desulforudis audaxviator?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moser, D. P.

    2012-12-01

    Deep subsurface microbial ecosystems have attracted scientific and public interest in recent years. Of deep habitats so far investigated, continental hard rock environments may be the least understood. Our Census of Deep Life (CoDL) project targets deep microbial ecosystems of three little explored (for microbiology), North American geological provinces: the Basin and Range, Black Hills, and Canadian Shield. Here we focus on the Basin and Range, specifically radioactive fluids from nuclear device test cavities (U12N.10 tunnel and ER-EC-11) at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) and non-radioactive samples from a deep dolomite aquifer associated with Death Valley, CA (BLM-1 and Nevares Deep Well 2). Six pyrotag sequencing runs were attempted at the Marine Biology Lab (MBL) (bacterial v6v4 amplification for all sites and archaeal v6v4 amplification for BLM-1 and Nevares DW2). Of these, DNA extracts from five samples (all but Nevares DW2 Arch) successfully amplified. Bacterial libraries were generally dominated by Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Nitrospirae (ER-EC-11: Proteobacteria (45%), Deinococcus-Thermus (35%), Firmicutes (15%); U12N.10: Proteobacteria (37%), Firmicutes (32%), Nitrospirae (15%), Bacteroidetes (11%); BLM-1 (Bact): Firmicutes (93%); and Nevares DW2: Firmicutes (51%), Proteobacteria (16%), Nitrospirae (15%)). The BLM-1 (Arch) library contained >99% Euryarchaeota, with 98% of sequences represented by a single uncharacterized species of Methanothermobacter. Alpha diversity was calculated using the MBL VAMPS (Visualization and Analysis of Microbial Population Structures) system; showing the highest richness at both the phylum and genus levels in U12N.10 (Sp = 42; Sg = 341), and the lowest (Sp = 3; Sg = 11) in the BLM-1(Arch) library. Diversity was covered well at this depth of sequencing (~20,000 reads per sample) based on rarefaction analysis. One Firmicute lineage, candidatus D. audaxviator, has been shown to dominate microbial communities from

  18. Reset of a critically disturbed microbial ecosystem: faecal transplant in recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.

    PubMed

    Fuentes, Susana; van Nood, Els; Tims, Sebastian; Heikamp-de Jong, Ineke; ter Braak, Cajo J F; Keller, Josbert J; Zoetendal, Erwin G; de Vos, Willem M

    2014-08-01

    Recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) can be effectively treated by infusion of a healthy donor faeces suspension. However, it is unclear what factors determine treatment efficacy. By using a phylogenetic microarray platform, we assessed composition, diversity and dynamics of faecal microbiota before, after and during follow-up of the transplantation from a healthy donor to different patients, to elucidate the mechanism of action of faecal infusion. Global composition and network analysis of the microbiota was performed in faecal samples from nine patients with recurrent CDI. Analyses were performed before and after duodenal donor faeces infusion, and during a follow-up of 10 weeks. The microbiota data were compared with that of the healthy donors. All patients successfully recovered. Their intestinal microbiota changed from a low-diversity diseased state, dominated by Proteobacteria and Bacilli, to a more diverse ecosystem resembling that of healthy donors, dominated by Bacteroidetes and Clostridium groups, including butyrate-producing bacteria. We identified specific multi-species networks and signature microbial groups that were either depleted or restored as a result of the treatment. The changes persisted over time. Comprehensive and deep analyses of the microbiota of patients before and after treatment exposed a therapeutic reset from a diseased state towards a healthy profile. The identification of microbial groups that constitute a niche for C. difficile overgrowth, as well as those driving the reinstallation of a healthy intestinal microbiota, could contribute to the development of biomarkers predicting recurrence and treatment outcome, identifying an optimal microbiota composition that could lead to targeted treatment strategies.

  19. The Role of Disturbance in Arctic Ecosystem Response to a Changing Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hinzman, L. D.

    2014-12-01

    Wildfires in the tundra regions and the boreal forest project an immediate effect upon the surface energy and water budget by drastically altering the surface albedo, roughness, infiltration rates, and moisture absorption capacity in organic soils. Although fires create a sudden and drastic change to the landcover, it is only the beginning of a long process of recovery and perhaps a shift to a different successional pathway. In permafrost regions, these effects become part of a process of long-term (20-50 years) cumulative impacts. Burn severity may largely determine immediate impacts and long-term disturbance trajectories. As transpiration decreases or ceases, soil moisture increases markedly, remaining quite wet throughout the year. Because the insulating quality of the organic layer is removed during fires, permafrost begins to thaw near the surface and warm to greater depths. Within a few years, it may thaw to the point where it can no longer completely refreeze every winter, creating a permanently thawed layer in the soil called a talik. After formation of a talik, soils can drain internally throughout the year. At this point, soils may become quite dry, as the total precipitation received annually in the Arctic is quite low. The local ecological community must continuously adapt to the changing soil thermal and moisture regimes. The wet soils found over shallow permafrost favor black spruce forests. After a fire creates a deeper permafrost table (thicker active layer) the invading tree species tend to be birch or alder. The hydrologic and thermal regime of the soil is the primary factor controlling these vegetation trajectories and the subsequent changes in surface mass and energy fluxes. The complexities of a changing climate accentuate these processes of change and complicate predictions of the resulting vegetation trajectories. Understanding these shifts in vegetative communities and quantifying the consequences of thawing permafrost can only be

  20. Microbial Ecology of a Crewed Rover Traverse in the Arctic: Low Microbial Dispersal and Implications for Planetary Protection on Human Mars Missions.

    PubMed

    Schuerger, Andrew C; Lee, Pascal

    2015-06-01

    Between April 2009 and July 2011, the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition (NWPDX), a multi-staged long-distance crewed rover traverse along the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. In April 2009, the HMP Okarian rover was driven 496 km over sea ice along the Northwest Passage, from Kugluktuk to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. During the traverse, crew members collected samples from within the rover and from undisturbed snow-covered surfaces around the rover at three locations. The rover samples and snow samples were stored at subzero conditions (-20°C to -1°C) until processed for microbial diversity in labs at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The objective was to determine the extent of microbial dispersal away from the rover and onto undisturbed snow. Interior surfaces of the rover were found to be associated with a wide range of bacteria (69 unique taxa) and fungi (16 unique taxa). In contrast, snow samples from the upwind, downwind, uptrack, and downtrack sample sites exterior to the rover were negative for both bacteria and fungi except for two colony-forming units (cfus) recovered from one downwind (1 cfu; site A4) and one uptrack (1 cfu; site B6) sample location. The fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus (GenBank JX517279), and closely related bacteria in the genus Brevibacillus were recovered from both snow (B. agri, GenBank JX517278) and interior rover surfaces. However, it is unknown whether the microorganisms were deposited onto snow surfaces at the time of sample collection (i.e., from the clothing or skin of the human operator) or via airborne dispersal from the rover during the 12-18 h layovers at the sites prior to collection. Results support the conclusion that a crewed rover traveling over previously undisturbed terrain may not significantly contaminate the local terrain via airborne dispersal of propagules from the vehicle.

  1. Reviews and syntheses: Soil resources and climate jointly drive variations in microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen in China's forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Z. H.; Wang, C. K.

    2015-11-01

    Microbial metabolism plays a key role in regulating the biogeochemical cycle of forest ecosystems, but the mechanisms driving microbial growth are not well understood. Here, we synthesized 689 measurements on soil microbial biomass carbon (Cmic) and nitrogen (Nmic) and related parameters from 207 independent studies published up to November 2014 across China's forest ecosystems. Our objectives were to (1) examine patterns in Cmic, Nmic, and microbial quotient (i.e., Cmic / Csoil and Nmic / Nsoil rates) by climate zones and management regimes for these forests; and (2) identify the factors driving the variability in the Cmic, Nmic, and microbial quotient. There was a large variability in Cmic (390.2 mg kg-1), Nmic (60.1 mg kg-1, Cmic : Nmic ratio (8.25), Cmic / Csoil rate (1.92 %), and Nmic / Nsoil rate (3.43 %) across China's forests. The natural forests had significantly greater Cmic (514.1 mg kg-1 vs. 281.8 mg kg-1) and Nmic (82.6 mg kg-1 vs. 39.0 mg kg-1) than the planted forests, but had less Cmic : Nmic ratio (7.3 vs. 9.2) and Cmic / Csoil rate (1.7 % vs. 2.1 %). Soil resources and climate together explained 24.4-40.7 % of these variations. The Cmic : Nmic ratio declined slightly with Csoil : Nsoil ratio, and changed with latitude, mean annual temperature and precipitation, suggesting a plasticity of microbial carbon-nitrogen stoichiometry. The Cmic / Csoil rate decreased with Csoil : Nsoil ratio, whereas the Nmic / Nsoil rate increased with Csoil : Nsoil ratio; the former was influenced more by soil resources than by climate, whereas the latter was influenced more by climate. These results suggest that soil microbial assimilation of carbon and nitrogen are jointly driven by soil resources and climate, but may be regulated by different mechanisms.

  2. Microbial Community Structure in Lake and Wetland Sediments from a High Arctic Polar Desert Revealed by Targeted Transcriptomics

    PubMed Central

    Stoeva, Magdalena K.; Aris-Brosou, Stéphane; Chételat, John; Hintelmann, Holger; Pelletier, Philip; Poulain, Alexandre J.

    2014-01-01

    While microbial communities play a key role in the geochemical cycling of nutrients and contaminants in anaerobic freshwater sediments, their structure and activity in polar desert ecosystems are still poorly understood, both across heterogeneous freshwater environments such as lakes and wetlands, and across sediment depths. To address this question, we performed targeted environmental transcriptomics analyses and characterized microbial diversity across three depths from sediment cores collected in a lake and a wetland, located on Cornwallis Island, NU, Canada. Microbial communities were characterized based on 16S rRNA and two functional gene transcripts: mcrA, involved in archaeal methane cycling and glnA, a bacterial housekeeping gene implicated in nitrogen metabolism. We show that methane cycling and overall bacterial metabolic activity are the highest at the surface of lake sediments but deeper within wetland sediments. Bacterial communities are highly diverse and structured as a function of both environment and depth, being more diverse in the wetland and near the surface. Archaea are mostly methanogens, structured by environment and more diverse in the wetland. McrA transcript analyses show that active methane cycling in the lake and wetland corresponds to distinct communities with a higher potential for methane cycling in the wetland. Methanosarcina spp., Methanosaeta spp. and a group of uncultured Archaea are the dominant methanogens in the wetland while Methanoregula spp. predominate in the lake. PMID:24594936

  3. Microbial Infections Are Associated with Embryo Mortality in Arctic-Nesting Geese.

    PubMed

    Hansen, Cristina M; Meixell, Brandt W; Van Hemert, Caroline; Hare, Rebekah F; Hueffer, Karsten

    2015-08-15

    To address the role of bacterial infection in hatching failure of wild geese, we monitored embryo development in a breeding population of Greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. During 2013, we observed mortality of normally developing embryos and collected 36 addled eggs for analysis. We also collected 17 infertile eggs for comparison. Using standard culture methods and gene sequencing to identify bacteria within collected eggs, we identified a potentially novel species of Neisseria in 33 eggs, Macrococcus caseolyticus in 6 eggs, and Streptococcus uberis and Rothia nasimurium in 4 eggs each. We detected seven other bacterial species at lower frequencies. Sequences of the 16S rRNA genes from the Neisseria isolates most closely matched sequences from N. animaloris and N. canis (96 to 97% identity), but phylogenetic analysis suggested substantial genetic differentiation between egg isolates and known Neisseria species. Although definitive sources of the bacteria remain unknown, we detected Neisseria DNA from swabs of eggshells, nest contents, and cloacae of nesting females. To assess the pathogenicity of bacteria identified in contents of addled eggs, we inoculated isolates of Neisseria, Macrococcus, Streptococcus, and Rothia at various concentrations into developing chicken eggs. Seven-day mortality rates varied from 70 to 100%, depending on the bacterial species and inoculation dose. Our results suggest that bacterial infections are a source of embryo mortality in wild geese in the Arctic.

  4. Microbial Infections Are Associated with Embryo Mortality in Arctic-Nesting Geese

    PubMed Central

    Hansen, Cristina M.; Meixell, Brandt W.; Van Hemert, Caroline; Hare, Rebekah F.

    2015-01-01

    To address the role of bacterial infection in hatching failure of wild geese, we monitored embryo development in a breeding population of Greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) on the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. During 2013, we observed mortality of normally developing embryos and collected 36 addled eggs for analysis. We also collected 17 infertile eggs for comparison. Using standard culture methods and gene sequencing to identify bacteria within collected eggs, we identified a potentially novel species of Neisseria in 33 eggs, Macrococcus caseolyticus in 6 eggs, and Streptococcus uberis and Rothia nasimurium in 4 eggs each. We detected seven other bacterial species at lower frequencies. Sequences of the 16S rRNA genes from the Neisseria isolates most closely matched sequences from N. animaloris and N. canis (96 to 97% identity), but phylogenetic analysis suggested substantial genetic differentiation between egg isolates and known Neisseria species. Although definitive sources of the bacteria remain unknown, we detected Neisseria DNA from swabs of eggshells, nest contents, and cloacae of nesting females. To assess the pathogenicity of bacteria identified in contents of addled eggs, we inoculated isolates of Neisseria, Macrococcus, Streptococcus, and Rothia at various concentrations into developing chicken eggs. Seven-day mortality rates varied from 70 to 100%, depending on the bacterial species and inoculation dose. Our results suggest that bacterial infections are a source of embryo mortality in wild geese in the Arctic. PMID:26048928

  5. Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes

    SciTech Connect

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; Perkins, George B.; Feng, Xiahong; Graham, David E.; O'Malley, Daniel; Vesselinov, Velimir V.; Young, Jessica; Wullschleger, Stan D.; Wilson, Cathy J.

    2016-04-16

    Climate change and thawing permafrost in the Arctic will significantly alter landscape hydro-geomorphology and the distribution of soil moisture, which will have cascading effects on climate feedbacks (CO2 and CH4) and plant and microbial communities. Fundamental processes critical to predicting active layer hydrology are not well understood. This study applied water stable isotope techniques (δ2H and δ18O) to infer sources and mixing of active layer waters in a polygonal tundra landscape in Barrow, Alaska (USA), in August and September of 2012. Results suggested that winter precipitation did not contribute substantially to surface waters or subsurface active layer pore waters measured in August and September. Summer rain was the main source of water to the active layer, with seasonal ice melt contributing to deeper pore waters later in the season. Surface water evaporation was evident in August from a characteristic isotopic fractionation slope (δ2H vs δ18O). Freeze-out isotopic fractionation effects in frozen active layer samples and textural permafrost were indistinguishable from evaporation fractionation, emphasizing the importance of considering the most likely processes in water isotope studies, in systems where both evaporation and freeze-out occur in close proximity. The fractionation observed in frozen active layer ice was not observed in liquid active layer pore waters. Such a discrepancy between frozen and liquid active layer samples suggests mixing of meltwater, likely due to slow melting of seasonal ice. In conclusion, this research provides insight into fundamental processes relating to sources and mixing of active layer waters, which should be considered in process-based fine-scale and intermediate-scale hydrologic models.

  6. Active layer hydrology in an arctic tundra ecosystem: quantifying water sources and cycling using water stable isotopes

    DOE PAGES

    Throckmorton, Heather M.; Newman, Brent D.; Heikoop, Jeffrey M.; ...

    2016-04-16

    Climate change and thawing permafrost in the Arctic will significantly alter landscape hydro-geomorphology and the distribution of soil moisture, which will have cascading effects on climate feedbacks (CO2 and CH4) and plant and microbial communities. Fundamental processes critical to predicting active layer hydrology are not well understood. This study applied water stable isotope techniques (δ2H and δ18O) to infer sources and mixing of active layer waters in a polygonal tundra landscape in Barrow, Alaska (USA), in August and September of 2012. Results suggested that winter precipitation did not contribute substantially to surface waters or subsurface active layer pore waters measuredmore » in August and September. Summer rain was the main source of water to the active layer, with seasonal ice melt contributing to deeper pore waters later in the season. Surface water evaporation was evident in August from a characteristic isotopic fractionation slope (δ2H vs δ18O). Freeze-out isotopic fractionation effects in frozen active layer samples and textural permafrost were indistinguishable from evaporation fractionation, emphasizing the importance of considering the most likely processes in water isotope studies, in systems where both evaporation and freeze-out occur in close proximity. The fractionation observed in frozen active layer ice was not observed in liquid active layer pore waters. Such a discrepancy between frozen and liquid active layer samples suggests mixing of meltwater, likely due to slow melting of seasonal ice. In conclusion, this research provides insight into fundamental processes relating to sources and mixing of active layer waters, which should be considered in process-based fine-scale and intermediate-scale hydrologic models.« less

  7. Representing Microbial Dormancy in Soil Decomposition Models Improves Model Performance and Reveals Key Ecosystem Controls on Microbial Activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Y.; Yang, J.; Zhuang, Q.; Wang, G.; Liu, Y.

    2014-12-01

    Climate feedbacks from soils can result from environmental change and subsequent responses of plant and microbial communities and nutrient cycling. Explicit consideration of microbial life history traits and strategy may be necessary to predict climate feedbacks due to microbial physiology and community changes and their associated effect on carbon cycling. In this study, we developed an explicit microbial-enzyme decomposition model and examined model performance with and without representation of dormancy at six temperate forest sites with observed soil efflux ranged from 4 to 10 years across different forest types. We then extrapolated the model to all temperate forests in the Northern Hemisphere (25-50°N) to investigate spatial controls on microbial and soil C dynamics. Both models captured the observed soil heterotrophic respiration (RH), yet no-dormancy model consistently exhibited large seasonal amplitude and overestimation in microbial biomass. Spatially, the total RH from temperate forests based on dormancy model amounts to 6.88PgC/yr, and 7.99PgC/yr based on no-dormancy model. However, no-dormancy model notably overestimated the ratio of microbial biomass to SOC. Spatial correlation analysis revealed key controls of soil C:N ratio on the active proportion of microbial biomass, whereas local dormancy is primarily controlled by soil moisture and temperature, indicating scale-dependent environmental and biotic controls on microbial and SOC dynamics. These developments should provide essential support to modeling future soil carbon dynamics and enhance the avenue for collaboration between empirical soil experiment and modeling in the sense that more microbial physiological measurements are needed to better constrain and evaluate the models.

  8. Influence of pH on microbial hydrogen metabolism in diverse sedimentary ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Goodwin, S; Conrad, R; Zeikus, J G

    1988-02-01

    Hydrogen transformation kinetic parameters were measured in sediments from anaerobic systems covering a wide range of environmental pH values to assess the influence of pH on hydrogen metabolism. The concentrations of dissolved hydrogen were measured and hydrogen transformation kinetics of the sediments were monitored in the laboratory by monitoring hydrogen consumption progress curves. The hydrogen turnover rate constants (kt) decreased directly as a function of decreasing sediment pH, and the maximum hydrogen uptake velocities (Vmax) varied as a function of pH within each of the trophic states. Conversely, the half-saturation concentrations (Km) were independent of pH. The steady-state hydrogen concentrations were at least 2 orders of magnitude lower than the half-saturation constants for hydrogen uptake. Dissolved hydrogen concentrations were at least fivefold higher in sediments from eutrophic systems than from oligotrophic and dystrophic systems. The rates of hydrogen production determined from the assumption of steady state decreased with sediment pH. These data indicate that progressively lower pH values inhibit microbial hydrogen-producing and -consuming processes within sedimentary ecosystems.

  9. Metabolic model reconstruction and analysis of an artificial microbial ecosystem for vitamin C production.

    PubMed

    Ye, Chao; Zou, Wei; Xu, Nan; Liu, Liming

    2014-07-20

    An artificial microbial ecosystem (AME) consisting of Ketogulonicigenium vulgare and Bacillus megaterium is currently used in a two-step fermentation process for vitamin C production. In order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic interactions between the two bacteria, a two-species stoichiometric metabolic model (iWZ-KV-663-BM-1055) consisting of 1718 genes, 1573 metabolites, and 1891 reactions (excluding exchange reactions) was constructed based on separate genome-scale metabolic models (GSMMs) of K. vulgare and B. megaterium. These two compartments (k and b) of iWZ-KV-663-BM-1055 shared 453 reactions and 548 metabolites. Compartment b was richer in subsystems than compartment k. In minimal media with glucose (MG), metabolite exchange between compartments was assessed by constraint-based analysis. Compartment b secreted essential amino acids, nucleic acids, vitamins and cofactors important for K. vulgare growth and biosynthesis of 2-keto-l-gulonic acid (2-KLG). Further research showed that when co-cultured with B. megaterium in l-sorbose-CSLP medium, the growth rate of K. vulgare and 2-KLG production were increased by 111.9% and 29.42%, respectively, under the constraints employed. Our study demonstrated that GSMMs and constraint-based methods can be used to decode the physiological features and inter-species interactions of AMEs used in industrial biotechnology, which will be of benefit for improving regulation and refinement in future industrial processes.

  10. Abundance and Genetic Diversity of Microbial Polygalacturonase and Pectate Lyase in the Sheep Rumen Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yaru; Luo, Huiying; Huang, Huoqing; Shi, Pengjun; Bai, Yingguo; Yang, Peilong; Yao, Bin

    2012-01-01

    Background Efficient degradation of pectin in the rumen is necessary for plant-based feed utilization. The objective of this study was to characterize the diversity, abundance, and functions of pectinases from microorganisms in the sheep rumen. Methodology/Principal Findings A total of 103 unique fragments of polygalacturonase (PF00295) and pectate lyase (PF00544 and PF09492) genes were retrieved from microbial DNA in the rumen of a Small Tail Han sheep, and 66% of the sequences of these fragments had low identities (<65%) with known sequences. Phylogenetic tree building separated the PF00295, PF00544, and PF09492 sequences into five, three, and three clades, respectively. Cellulolytic and noncellulolytic Butyrivibrio, Prevotella, and Fibrobacter species were the major sources of the pectinases. The two most abundant pectate lyase genes were cloned, and their protein products, expressed in Escherichia coli, were characterized. Both en