Bacterial community composition in relation to bedrock type and macrobiota in soils from the Sør Rondane Mountains, East Antarctica
Antarctic soils are known to be oligotrophic and of having low buffering capacities. It is expected that this is particularly the case for inland high-altitude regions. We hypothesized that the bedrock type and the presence of macrobiota in these soils enforce a high selective pressure on their bacterial communities. To test this, we analyzed the bacterial community structure in 52 soil samples from the western Sør Rondane Mountains (Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica), using the Illumina MiSeq platform in combination with ARISA fingerprinting. The samples were taken along broad environmental gradients in an area covering nearly 1000 km2. Ordination and variation partitioning analyses revealed that the total organic carbon content was the most significant variable in structuring the bacterial communities, followed by pH, electric conductivity, bedrock type and the moisture content, while spatial distance was of relatively minor importance. Acidobacteria (Chloracidobacteria) and Actinobacteria (Actinomycetales) dominated gneiss derived mineral soil samples, while Proteobacteria (Sphingomonadaceae), Cyanobacteria, Armatimonadetes and candidate division FBP-dominated soil samples with a high total organic carbon content that were mainly situated on granite derived bedrock.