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Journal Article

The Impact of Sea Ice Cover on Microbial Communities in Antarctic Shelf Sediments


Molari,  Massimiliano
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Baloza, M., Henkel, S., Kasten, S., Holtappels, M., & Molari, M. (2023). The Impact of Sea Ice Cover on Microbial Communities in Antarctic Shelf Sediments. MICROORGANISMS, 11(6): 1572. doi:10.3390/microorganisms11061572.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000E-46B5-7
The area around the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is facing rapid climatic and environmental changes, with so far unknown impacts on the benthic microbial communities of the continental shelves. In this study, we investigated the impact of contrasting sea ice cover on microbial community compositions in surface sediments from five stations along the eastern shelf of the AP using 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequencing. Redox conditions in sediments with long ice-free periods are characterized by a prevailing ferruginous zone, whereas a comparatively broad upper oxic zone is present at the heavily ice-covered station. Low ice cover stations were highly dominated by microbial communities of Desulfobacterota (mostly Sva1033, Desulfobacteria, and Desulfobulbia), Myxococcota, and Sva0485, whereas Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Bacteroidota, and NB1-j prevail at the heavy ice cover station. In the ferruginous zone, Sva1033 was the dominant member of Desulfuromonadales for all stations and, along with eleven other taxa, showed significant positive correlations with dissolved Fe concentrations, suggesting a significant role in iron reduction or an ecological relationship with iron reducers. Our results indicate that sea ice cover and its effect on organic carbon fluxes are the major drivers for changes in benthic microbial communities, favoring potential iron reducers at stations with increased organic matter fluxes.