Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Metatranscriptomic Analysis of Soil Microbial Community Response to Water and Organic Matter in McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

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Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Heather Buelow
Ara Kooser
John E. Barrett
Michael N. Gooseff
Egbert Schwartz
David J. Van Horn
Cristina Takacs-Vesbach

Soil microbial life in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), Antarctica is known to be active during the brief austral summer, taking advantage of ephemeral glacial melt water inputs and warmer temperatures. The MDV are on the threshold of climate induced change: increased solar radiation is increasing glacial melt, permafrost thaw, and the melting of massive buried ice, thereby increasing soil moisture and nutrient mobilization. This study used community mRNA transcripts to identify active soil taxa and their functions and to determine their response to experimental water and organic matter soil amendments, designed to simulate expected climate change effects. This study is the first time metatranscriptomic techniques have been used in this extreme, low biomass habitat. Both taxonomic and functional diversity declined with amendments. Only three bacterial phyla (Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Firmicutes) dominated the positive functional responses, while eukaryotic taxa declined in both abundance and functional diversity. Detailed differential abundance responses of taxa and differential expression of transcript functions will be presented.

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