Are recently deglaciated areas at both poles colonised by the same bacteria?

del Moral, Álvaro; Garrido-Benavent, Isaac; Durán, Jorge; Lehmann, Jan R.; Rodríguez, Alexandra; Heiðmarsson, Starri and de los Ríos, Asunción (2021). Are recently deglaciated areas at both poles colonised by the same bacteria? FEMS Microbiology Letters, 368(3), article no. fnab011.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnab011

Abstract

Polar glacier forefields offer an unprecedented framework for studying community assembly processes in regions that are geographically and climatically isolated. Through amplicon sequence variant (ASV) inference, we compared the composition and structure of soil bacterial communities from glacier forefields in Iceland and Antarctica to assess overlap between communities and the impact of established cryptogamic covers on the uniqueness of their taxa. These pioneer microbial communities were found to share only 8% of ASVs and each taxonomic group's contribution to the shared ASV data subset was heterogeneous and independent of their relative abundance. Although the presence of ASVs specific to one glacier forefield and/or different cryptogam cover values confirms the existence of habitat specialist bacteria, our data show that the influence of cryptogams on the edaphic bacterial community structure also varied also depending on the taxonomic group. Hence, the establishment of distinct cryptogamic covers is probably not the only factor driving the uniqueness of bacterial communities at both poles. The structure of bacterial communities colonising deglaciated areas seems also conditioned by lineage-specific limitations in their dispersal capacity and/or their establishment and persistence in these isolated and hostile regions.

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