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Metabarcoding inventory of an arctic tundra soil ecosystem reveals highly heterogeneous communities at a small scale

Abstract
Biodiversity surveys of Arctic soil ecosystems are limited. Here, we provide a sequence-based inventory of soil fauna from an Arctic tundra ecosystem near the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Invertebrate communities were extracted at a vegetated and non-vegetated site in three replicates and inventoried using 18S metabarcode sequencing. A total of 361 amplicon sequence variants (ASV) were identified and assigned to the closest matching taxonomic orders, most of which belonged to the Nematoda and Arthropoda. Vegetated soils showed no significantly higher ASV richness relative to non-vegetated soils although they contained a significantly higher diversity of arthropod taxa including insects, mites, and springtails. Most taxa were found only at a single location and even samples from the same site displayed distinct communities, suggesting that belowground species richness in Arctic tundra habitats is highly heterogeneous. Preserving soil biodiversity in a changing Arctic is essential for Inuit communities who rely on intact tundra ecosystems for their health and wellbeing.
Type
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Date
2023-05-01
Publisher
Springer
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
© 2023 The Author(s). This is an open-access article under the CCBY license.