Herbold, C. W., Lee, C. K.-W., McDonald, I. R., & Cary, S. C. (2014). Evidence of global-scale aeolian dispersal and endemism in isolated geothermal microbial communities of Antarctica. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 5. http://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms4875
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9399
New evidence in aerobiology challenges the assumption that geographical isolation is an effective barrier to microbial transport. However, given the uncertainty with which aerobiological organisms are recruited into existing communities, the ultimate impact of microbial dispersal is difficult to assess. To evaluate the ecological significance of global-scale microbial dispersal, molecular genetic approaches were used to examine microbial communities inhabiting fumarolic soils on Mt. Erebus, the southernmost geothermal site on Earth. There, hot, fumarolic soils provide an effective environmental filter to test the viability of organisms that have been distributed via aeolian transport over geological time. We find that cosmopolitan thermophiles dominate the surface, whereas endemic Archaea and members of poorly understood Bacterial candidate divisions dominate the immediate subsurface. These results imply that aeolian processes readily disperse viable organisms globally, where they are incorporated into pre-existing complex communities of endemic and cosmopolitan taxa.
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© 2014 Nature Publishing Group.This is an author's accepted version of an article published in Nature Communications.