Biogeography of terrestrial cyanobacteria from Antarctic ice-free areas

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Cyanobacteria inhabit the Antarctic continent and have even been observed in the most southerly ice-free areas of Antarctica (86–87° S). The highest molecular diversity of cyanobacterial communities was found in the areas located between 70° S and 80° S. Further south and further north from this zone, the diversity abruptly decreased. Seventy-nine per cent (33 of 42 operational taxonomic units) of Antarctic terrestrial cyanobacteria have a cosmopolitan distribution. Analysis of the sampling efforts shows that only three regions (southern Victoria Land, the Sør Rondane Mountains and Alexander Island) have been particularly well studied, while other areas did not receive enough attention. Although cyanobacteria possess a capacity for long-range transport, regional populations in Antarctic ice-free areas seem to exist. The cyanobacterial communities of the three most intensively studied regions, separated from each other by a distance of 3000–3400 km, had a low degree of similarity with each other. Further development of microbial biogeography demands a standardized approach. For this purpose, as a minimal standard, we suggest using the sequence of cyanobacterial 16S rRNA gene between Escherichia coli positions 405 and 780.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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