Glacial microbiota are hydrologically connected and temporally variable

Cameron, K. A. , Müller, O., Stibal, M., Edwards, A. and Jacobsen, C. S. (2020) Glacial microbiota are hydrologically connected and temporally variable. Environmental Microbiology, 22(8), pp. 3172-3187. (doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15059) (PMID:32383292)

215487.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Glaciers are melting rapidly. The concurrent export of microbial assemblages alongside glacial meltwater is expected to impact the ecology of adjoining ecosystems. Currently, the source of exported assemblages is poorly understood, yet this information may be critical for understanding how current and future glacial melt seasons may influence downstream environments. We report on the connectivity and temporal variability of microbiota sampled from supraglacial, subglacial and periglacial habitats and water bodies within a glacial catchment. Sampled assemblages showed evidence of being biologically connected through hydrological flowpaths, leading to a meltwater system that accumulates prokaryotic biota as it travels downstream. Temporal changes in the connected assemblages were similarly observed. Snow assemblages changed markedly throughout the sample period, likely reflecting changes in the surrounding environment. Changes in supraglacial meltwater assemblages reflected the transition of the glacial surface from snow‐covered to bare‐ice. Marked snowmelt across the surrounding periglacial environment resulted in the flushing of soil assemblages into the riverine system. In contrast, surface ice within the ablation zone and subglacial meltwaters remained relatively stable throughout the sample period. Our results are indicative that changes in snow and ice melt across glacial environments will influence the abundance and diversity of microbial assemblages transported downstream.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project was funded through a bursary from the Center for Permafrost (CENPERM), University of Copenhagen, funding from a Danish Research Council Grant (FNU 10-085274) and funding from a Villum Young Investigator Programme grant (VKR 023121). KAC was additionally supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 663830 and by the Welsh Government and Higher Education Funding Council for Wales through the Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy, and Environment.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cameron, Dr Karen
Authors: Cameron, K. A., Müller, O., Stibal, M., Edwards, A., and Jacobsen, C. S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Environmental Microbiology
ISSN (Online):1462-2920
Published Online:07 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Environmental Microbiology 22(8): 3172-3187
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record