Cyanobacterial diversity in benthic mats of the McMurdo Dry Valley lakes, Antarctica

TitleCyanobacterial diversity in benthic mats of the McMurdo Dry Valley lakes, Antarctica
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsZhang, L, Jungblut, AD, Hawes, I, Andersen, DT, Sumner, DY, Mackey, TJ
JournalPolar Biology
Pagination1097 - 1110
Date Published01/2015

Perennially ice-covered, meromictic lakes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, are useful models to study the relationship between cyanobacterial and environmental variables. They have rich benthic cyanobacterial mat accumulations and stable stratification of physical and chemical conditions. Here, we evaluated cyanobacteria from benthic mats from multiple depths in three geographically separated ice-covered lakes, Lakes Vanda, Hoare and Joyce, using 16S rRNA gene clone libraries. We identified 19 ribotypes, mostly Oscillatoriales and severalChroococcales, as well as potentially novel cyanobacterial ribotypes. The majority of ribotype diversity was shared between lakes, and only a weak relationship between ribotype community structure and environmental variables was evident. Multivariate analysis of all lake–depth combinations implied that photosynthetically active radiation, dissolved reactive phosphorus and conductivity were potentially important for shaping benthic communities in McMurdo Dry Valley lakes. Cyanobacterial-specific pigment signature analysis by high-performance liquid chromatographyshowed that the cyanobacterial communities responded to light conditions similarly, irrespective of community composition. The results imply a capability within a suite of cyanobacteria to colonise, adapt and grow across broad environmental ranges and geographic space, and such adaptability may provide a high degree of community resistance and resilience to future climate-driven environmental change in Antarctic terrestrial aquaticecosystems.

Short TitlePolar Biol