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Proceedings Paper

Diversity of bacterial communities in the lakes of Schirmacher Oasis, Antarctica
Author(s): Nazia Mojib; Jonathan Huang; Richard B. Hoover; Elena V. Pikuta; Michael Storrie-Lombardi; Birgit Sattler; Dale Andersen; Asim K. Bej
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Paper Abstract

Extreme conditions such as low temperature, aridness, low availability of organic matter, high salinity and UV-radiation in terrestrial Antarctica are key factors limiting the habitation of biotic communities and ecosystem dynamics. In recent studies, it has been discovered that the bacterial communities are highly diverse and distributed widely in the extreme ecosystem of Antarctica. Besides available morphometric data, geology, and thermal profile, limited study on the microbial identification, phylogenetic analysis, diversity and distribution of microorganisms in different lakes of Schirmacher Oasis in East Antarctica has been reported. The objective of this study was to assess the microbial biodiversity and distribution using culture-independent and culture-dependent methodologies based upon bacterial 16S rRNA gene analysis in three categories of lakes, i.e., the land-locked (L), epi-shelf (E), and pro-glacial (P) lakes in Schirmacher Oasis. The water and ice samples were collected during the 2008 Tawani International Scientific Expedition. Direct culturing of the samples on R2A agar media exhibited a wide variety of pigmented bacteria. Two of the pigmented bacteria that were cultured belong to the genera, Hymenobacter, and Flavobacterium. Cultureindependent methodology of one of the land-locked lakes L27C identified a rich microbial diversity consisting of six different phyla of bacteria. The majority of bacteria (56%) belong to the Class γ-proteobacteria within the phylum Proteobacteria. Within the Class γ-proteobacteria, Acinetobacter dominated (48%) the total microbial load. Characterization of the microbial diversity within the three different types of Antarctic lakes is important because it will help give us a better understanding of the survival mechanisms and the functionality of these bacteria in extremely cold and harsh Antarctic ecosystems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 September 2009
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7441, Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII, 74410J (11 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.831289
Show Author Affiliations
Nazia Mojib, The Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (United States)
Jonathan Huang, The Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (United States)
Richard B. Hoover, NASA National Space Science and Technology Ctr. (United States)
Elena V. Pikuta, The Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville (United States)
Michael Storrie-Lombardi, Kinohi Institute (United States)
Birgit Sattler, Univ. of Innsbruck (Austria)
Dale Andersen, SETI Institute (United States)
Asim K. Bej, The Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7441:
Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII
Kurt D. Retherford; Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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