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Factors influencing bacterial dynamics along a transect from supraglacial runoff to proglacial lakes of high Arctic glaciers

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 20:36 authored by Mindl, B, Anesio, AM, Meirer, K, Hodson, AJ, Laybourn-Parry, J, Sommaruga, R, Sattler, B
Bacterial production in glacial runoff and aquatic habitats along a c. 500m transect from the ablation area of a Svalbard glacier (Midre Lov´enbreen, 791N, 121E) down to a series of proglacial lakes in its forefield were assessed. In addition, a series of in situ experiments were conducted to test how different nutrient sources (glacial flour and dissolved organic matter derived from goose faeces) and temperature affect bacterial abundance and production in these ecosystems. Bacterial abundance and production increased significantly along this transect and reached a maximum in the proglacial lakes. Bacterial diversity profiles as assessed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis indicated that communities in glacial runoff were different from those in proglacial lakes. Heterotrophic bacterial production was mainly controlled by temperature and phosphorus limitation. Addition of both glacial flour and dissolved organic matter derived from goose faeces stimulated bacterial production in those lakes. The results suggest that glacial runoff sustains an active bacterial community which is further stimulated in proglacial lakes by higher temperatures and nutrient inputs from bird faeces. Thus, as in maritime temperate and Antarctic settings, bacterial communities developing in the recently deglaciated terrain of Svalbard receive important inputs of nutrients via faunal transfers from adjacent ecosystems.


Publication title

FEMS Microbial Ecology








Springer New York LLC

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

The definitive published version is available online at:

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments

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