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Sublithic bacteria associated with Antarctic quartz stones


Smith, MC and Bowman, JP and Scott, FJ and Line, MA, Sublithic bacteria associated with Antarctic quartz stones, Antarctic Science, 12, (2) pp. 177-184. ISSN 0954-1020 (2000) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0954102000000237


Quartz stone sublithic cyanobacterial communities are common throughout the Vestfold Hills, Eastern Antarctica (68°S 78°E) contributing biomass in areas otherwise devoid of any type of vegetation. In this study, the sublithic microbial community and underlying soil was investigated using a variety of traditional and molecular methods. Although direct epifluorescent counts of the sublithic growth (average 1.1 x 109 cells g-1 dry weight) and underlying soil (0.5 x 109 cells g-1 dry weight) were similar, sublith viable counts (2.1 x 107 cfu g-1 dry weight) were on average 3-orders of magnitude higher in the subliths. Enrichment and molecular analyses revealed the predominate cyanobacteria were non-halophilic, able to grow optimally at 15-20°C, and were related to the Phormidium subgroup with several distinct morphotypes and phylotypes present. Sublithic heterotrophic bacterial populations and those of underlying soils included mostly psychrotolerant taxa typical of Antarctic soil. However, psychrophilic and halophilic bacteria, mostly members of the alpha subdivision of the Proteobacteria and the order Cytophagales, were abundant in the sublithic growth film (20-40% of the viable count and about 50% of isolated individual taxa) but absent from underlying soils. It is suggested that quartz stone subliths might constitute a 'refuge' for psychrophilic bacteria.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Smith, MC (Mr Matthew Smith)
UTAS Author:Bowman, JP (Associate Professor John Bowman)
UTAS Author:Line, MA (Dr Martin Line)
ID Code:18747
Year Published:2000
Web of Science® Times Cited:59
Deposited By:Agricultural Science
Deposited On:2000-08-01
Last Modified:2001-03-19

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