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Soil bacterial diversity is positively associated with air temperature in the maritime Antarctic

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen Rushton, Professor Anthony O'Donnell, Professor David Hopkins



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019, The Author(s). Terrestrial ecosystems in the maritime Antarctic experienced rapid warming during the latter half of the 20 th century. While warming ceased at the turn of the millennium, significant increases in air temperature are expected later this century, with predicted positive effects on soil fungal diversity, plant growth and ecosystem productivity. Here, by sequencing 16S ribosomal RNA genes in 40 soils sampled from along a 1,650 km climatic gradient through the maritime Antarctic, we determine whether rising air temperatures might similarly influence the diversity of soil bacteria. Of 22 environmental factors, mean annual surface air temperature was the strongest and most consistent predictor of soil bacterial diversity. Significant, but weaker, associations between bacterial diversity and soil moisture content, C:N ratio, and Ca, Mg, PO 4 3− and dissolved organic C concentrations were also detected. These findings indicate that further rises in air temperature in the maritime Antarctic may enhance terrestrial ecosystem productivity through positive effects on soil bacterial diversity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dennis PG, Newsham KK, Rushton SP, O'Donnell AG, Hopkins DW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2019

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 25/02/2019

Acceptance date: 25/01/2019

Date deposited: 11/03/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39521-7

PubMed id: 30804443


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Funder referenceFunder name
NE/D00893X/1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)