Ursel Schütte is interested in understanding patterns of biogeography for microorganisms by applying macroecological concepts to the microbial world. Zaid Abdo is a professor of Statistics and Mathematics and he combines mathematical modeling and statistical analysis using computationally intensive methods and simulations to address current problems in biology such as the analysis of microbial community composition and diversity, experimental evolution, and the barcoding of life. James Foster explores and attempts to understand both natural and simulated evolution by developing and analyzing genetic algorithms. He also investigates biological problems such as the emergence and structure of microbial ecosystems. Jacques Ravel's research interests extend from the application of microbial genomics to explore the human microbiome, to comparative analyses of microbial genome sequences and microbial forensics. John Bunge's research focuses on the problem of estimating the species richness or biodiversity in a community. Bjørn Solheim focuses on Arctic terrestrial ecosystems, in particular cyanobacterial communities and their role in nitrogen fixation, and the impact of climate change on these types of communities. Larry Forney's research centers on the diversity and distribution of prokaryotes. Both field and laboratory studies are done to explore the temporal and spatial patterns of community diversity, as well as factors that influence the dynamics of inter- and intra-species competition and how environmental conditions might influence the tempo of adaptive evolution.
Bacterial diversity in a glacier foreland of the high Arctic
Article first published online: 10 FEB 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Special Issue: Next Generation Molecular Ecology
Volume 19, Issue Supplement s1, pages 54–66, March 2010
How to Cite
SCHÜTTE, U. M.E., ABDO, Z., FOSTER, J., RAVEL, J., BUNGE, J., SOLHEIM, B. and FORNEY, L. J. (2010), Bacterial diversity in a glacier foreland of the high Arctic. Molecular Ecology, 19: 54–66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04479.x
- Issue published online: 10 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 10 FEB 2010
- Received 29 May 2009; revision received 2 August 2009; accepted 8 August 2009
- High Arctic
Over the past 100 years, Arctic temperatures have increased at almost twice the global average rate. One consequence is the acceleration of glacier retreat, exposing new habitats that are colonized by microorganisms whose diversity and function are unknown. Here, we characterized bacterial diversity along two approximately parallel chronosequences in an Arctic glacier forefield that span six time points following glacier retreat. We assessed changes in phylotype richness, evenness and turnover rate through the analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered from 52 samples taken from surface layers along the chronosequences. An average of 4500 sequences was obtained from each sample by 454 pyrosequencing. Using parametric methods, it was estimated that bacterial phylotype richness was high, and that it increased significantly from an average of 4000 (at a threshold of 97% sequence similarity) at locations exposed for 5 years to an average of 7050 phylotypes per 0.5 g of soil at sites that had been exposed for 150 years. Phylotype evenness also increased over time, with an evenness of 0.74 for 150 years since glacier retreat reflecting large proportions of rare phylotypes. The bacterial species turnover rate was especially high between sites exposed for 5 and 19 years. The level of bacterial diversity present in this High Arctic glacier foreland was comparable with that found in temperate and tropical soils, raising the question whether global patterns of bacterial species diversity parallel that of plants and animals, which have been found to form a latitudinal gradient and be lower in polar regions compared with the tropics.