Nitrate addition has minimal short-term impacts on Greenland ice sheet supraglacial prokaryotes

Cameron, K. A. , Stibal, M., Chrismas, N., Box, J. and Jacobsen, C. S. (2017) Nitrate addition has minimal short-term impacts on Greenland ice sheet supraglacial prokaryotes. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 9(2), pp. 144-150. (doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12510) (PMID:27943630)

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Tropospheric nitrate levels are predicted to increase throughout the 21st century, with potential effects on terrestrial ecosystems, including the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS). This study considers the impacts of elevated nitrate concentrations on the abundance and composition of dominant bulk and active prokaryotic communities sampled from in situ nitrate fertilization plots on the GrIS surface. Nitrate concentrations were successfully elevated within sediment-filled meltwater pools, known as cryoconite holes; however, nitrate additions applied to surface ice did not persist. Estimated bulk and active cryoconite community cell abundance was unaltered by nitrate additions when compared to control holes using a quantitative PCR approach, and nitrate was found to have a minimal affect on the dominant 16S rRNA gene-based community composition. Together, these results indicate that sampled cryoconite communities were not nitrate limited at the time of sampling. Instead, temporal changes in biomass and community composition were more pronounced. As these in situ incubations were short (6 weeks), and the community composition across GrIS surface ice is highly variable, we suggest that further efforts should be considered to investigate the potential long-term impacts of increased nitrate across the GrIS.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by a Villum Young Investigator Programme grant VKR 023121 to MS, Danish Research Council grants FNU 10-085274 to CSJ and CENPERM DNRF100, and it was supported by crowd funding via the Dark Snow Project (
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cameron, Dr Karen
Authors: Cameron, K. A., Stibal, M., Chrismas, N., Box, J., and Jacobsen, C. S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Environmental Microbiology Reports
ISSN (Online):1758-2229
Published Online:10 December 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Environmental Microbiology Reports 9(2):144-150
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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