The segregation of bacteria, inorganic solutes, and total organic carbon between liquid water and ice during winter ice formation on lakes can significantly influence the concentration and survival of microorganisms in icy systems and their roles in biogeochemical processes. Our study quantifies the distributions of bacteria and solutes between liquid and solid water phases during progressive freezing. We simulated lake ice formation in mesocosm experiments using water from perennially (Antarctica) and seasonally (Alaska and Montana, United States) ice‐covered lakes. We then computed concentration factors and effective segregation coefficients, which are parameters describing the incorporation of bacteria and solutes into ice. Experimental results revealed that, contrary to major ions, bacteria were readily incorporated into ice and did not concentrate in the liquid phase. The organic matter incorporated into the ice was labile, amino acid‐like material, differing from the humic‐like compounds that remained in the liquid phase. Results from a control mesocosm experiment (dead bacterial cells) indicated that viability of bacterial cells did not influence the incorporation of free bacterial cells into ice, but did have a role in the formation and incorporation of bacterial aggregates. Together, these findings demonstrate that bacteria, unlike other solutes, were preferentially incorporated into lake ice during our freezing experiments, a process controlled mainly by the initial solute concentration of the liquid water source, regardless of cell viability.
Climate change and anthropogenic factors can alter biodiversity and can lead to changes in community structure and function. Despite the potential impacts, no long-term records of climatic influences on microbial communities exist. The Tibetan Plateau is a highly sensitive region that is currently undergoing significant alteration resulting from both climate change and increased human activity. Ice cores from glaciers in this region serve as unique natural archives of bacterial abundance and community composition, and contain concomitant records of climate and environmental change. We report high-resolution profiles of bacterial density and community composition over the past half century in ice cores from three glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau. Statistical analysis showed that the bacterial community composition in the three ice cores converged starting in the 1990s. Changes in bacterial community composition were related to changing precipitation, increasing air temperature and anthropogenic activities in the vicinity of the plateau. Collectively, our ice core data on bacteria in concert with environmental and anthropogenic proxies indicate that the convergence of bacterial communities deposited on glaciers across a wide geographical area and situated in diverse habitat types was likely induced by climatic and anthropogenic drivers.
The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has undergone significant changes in air and seawater temperatures during the last 50 years. Although highly stenotherm Antarctic organisms are expected to be severely affected by the increase of seawater temperature, high-resolution datasets of seawater temperature within coastal areas of the WAP (where diverse marine communities have been reported) are not commonly available. Here we report on within-year (2016–2017) variation in seawater temperature at three sites on Doumer Island, Palmer Archipelago, WAP. Within a year, Antarctic organisms in South Bay were exposed to water temperatures in excess of 2 °C for more than 25 days and 2.5 °C for more than 10 days. We recorded a temperature range between −1.7° to 3.0 °C. Warming of seawater temperature was 3.75 times faster after October 2016 than it was before October. Results from this study indicate that organisms at South Bay are already exposed to temperatures that are being used in experimental studies to evaluate physiological responses to thermal stress in WAP organisms. Continuous measurements of short to long-term variability in seawater temperature provides important information for parametrizing meaningful experimental treatments that aim to assess the local effects of environmental variation on Antarctic organisms under future climate scenarios.
Ice shelves surround 75% of Antarctica's coastline and are highly sensitive to climate change; several have recently collapsed and others are predicted to in the near future. Marine waters beneath ice shelves harbor active ecosystems, while adjacent seas can be important areas of bottom water formation. Despite their oceanographic significance, logistical constraints have resulted in few opportunities to directly sample subice shelf cavities. Here, we present the first data on microbial diversity and biogeochemistry beneath the
Abstract. Pío XI, the largest glacier of the Southern Patagonia Icefield, reached its neoglacial maximum extent in 1994 and is one of the few glaciers in that area which is not retreating. In view of the recent warming it is important to understand glacier responses to climate changes. Due to its remoteness and the harsh conditions in Patagonia, no systematic mass balance studies have been performed. In this study we derived net accumulation rates for the period 2000-2006 from a 50 m (33.2 4 m weq) ice core collected in the accumulation area of Pío XI (2600 m a.s.l., 49 • 16 40 S, 73 • 21 14 W). Borehole temperatures indicate near temperate ice, but the average melt percent is only 16 ± 14%. Records of stable isotopes are well preserved and were used for identification of annual layers. Net accumulation rates range from 3.4-7.1 water equivalent (m weq) with an average of 5.8 m weq, comparable to precipitation amounts at the Chilean coast, but not as high as expected for the Icefield. Ice core stable isotope data correlate well with upper air temperatures and may be used as temperature proxy.
We present the first long-term, highly resolved prokaryotic cell concentration record obtained from a polar ice core. This record, obtained from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide (WD) ice core, spanned from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the early Holocene (EH) and showed distinct fluctuations in prokaryotic cell concentration coincident with major climatic states. The time series also revealed a ~1,500-year periodicity with greater amplitude during the Last Deglaciation (LDG). Higher prokaryotic cell concentration and lower variability occurred during the LGM and EH than during the LDG. A sevenfold decrease in prokaryotic cell concentration coincided with the LGM/LDG transition and the global 19 ka meltwater pulse. Statistical models revealed significant relationships between the prokaryotic cell record and tracers of both marine (sea-salt sodium [ssNa]) and burning emissions (black carbon [BC]). Collectively, these models, together with visual observations and methanosulfidic acid (MSA) measurements, indicated that the temporal variability in concentration of airborne prokaryotic cells reflected changes in marine/sea-ice regional environments of the WAIS. Our data revealed that variations in source and transport were the most likely processes producing the significant temporal variations in WD prokaryotic cell concentrations. This record provided strong evidence that airborne prokaryotic cell deposition differed during the LGM, LDG, and EH, and that these changes in cell densities could be explained by different environmental conditions during each of these climatic periods. Our observations provide the first ice-core time series evidence for a prokaryotic response to long-term climatic and environmental processes.
ABSTRACT. Microorganisms were the earliest inhabitants on our planet that occupy nearly every environment, and play a major role in biogeochemical cycles. Despite their global importance, there remains a paucity of data on microbial responses to long-term environmental and climatic changes. Microorganisms are known to be immured in glacial ice, but no high-resolution temporal records of their density exist, owing in large part to the lack of appropriate clean methodology that allows for rapid analysis of samples over depth. We describe a clean and time efficient method that can produce a high-temporal resolution record of prokaryotic density archived in ice cores. The method combines acquisition of discrete samples using a continuous ice-core melting system coupled with flow cytometry (FCM) of DNA-stained samples. Specifically, we evaluate the performance of the FCM measurement technique in terms of specificity, precision, accuracy and minimum detection limits. Examples from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide ice core are included to show the efficacy of the method.
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