Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils

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dc.contributor.author Cowan, Don A.
dc.contributor.author Makhalanyane, Thulani P.
dc.contributor.author Dennis, Paul G.
dc.contributor.author Hopkins, David W.
dc.date.accessioned 2015-02-02T10:02:31Z
dc.date.available 2015-02-02T10:02:31Z
dc.date.issued 2014-04
dc.description.abstract The Antarctica Dry Valleys are regarded as the coldest hyperarid desert system on Earth. While a wide variety of environmental stressors including very low minimum temperatures, frequent freeze-thaw cycles and low water availability impose severe limitations to life, suitable niches for abundant microbial colonization exist. Antarctic desert soils contain much higher levels of microbial diversity than previously thought. Edaphic niches, including cryptic and refuge habitats, microbial mats and permafrost soils all harbor microbial communities which drive key biogeochemical cycling processes. For example, lithobionts (hypoliths and endoliths) possess a genetic capacity for nitrogen and carbon cycling, polymer degradation, and other system processes. Nitrogen fixation rates of hypoliths, as assessed through acetylene reduction assays, suggest that these communities are a significant input source for nitrogen into these oligotrophic soils. Here we review aspects of microbial diversity in Antarctic soils with an emphasis on functionality and capacity. We assess current knowledge regarding adaptations to Antarctic soil environments and highlight the current threats to Antarctic desert soil communities. en_ZA
dc.description.librarian hb2015 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship University of Pretoria Genomics Research Institute, The South African National Research Foundation (SANAP program), Antarctica New Zealand, the University of Waikato NZTABS program, the UK Natural Environment Research Council (Antarctic Funding Initiative) and the British Antarctic Survey. en_ZA
dc.description.uri http://www.frontiersin.org/Microbiology en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Cowan, D, Makhalanyane, TP, Dennis PG & Hopkins, DW 2014, 'Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils', Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 5, pp. 1-10. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1664-302X (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00154
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/43517
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Frontiers Research Foundation en_ZA
dc.rights © 2014 Cowan, Makhalanyane, Dennis and Hopkins. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). en_ZA
dc.subject Antarctica en_ZA
dc.subject Microbial ecology en_ZA
dc.subject Soil en_ZA
dc.subject Hypoliths en_ZA
dc.subject Nitrogen en_ZA
dc.subject Carbon en_ZA
dc.subject Adaptation en_ZA
dc.subject Threats en_ZA
dc.subject Impacts en_ZA
dc.title Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of continental Antarctic soils en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA


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