The largest moss carpet transplant in Antarctica and its bryosphere cryptic biodiversity
As part of the reconstruction of the Brazilian Antarctic Station on King George Island, three areas of moss carpet were transplanted to minimize the impact of the new facilities on the local biodiversity. A total of 650 m2 of moss carpet was transplanted to neighboring but previously uncolonized locations and has subsequently survived for the last 3 years. Antarctic moss carpets typically comprise low moss species diversity and are often monospecific. We investigated the cryptic biodiversity that was transplanted along with the carpets using a metabarcoding approach through high throughput sequencing. We targeted 16S rRNA for Bacteria and Archaea, ITS for Fungi and Viridiplantae and Cox1 for Metazoa. We detected DNA representing 263 taxa from five Kingdoms (Chromista, Fungi, Metazoa, Protista and Viridiplantae), two Domains (Archaea and Bacteria) and 33 Phyla associated with the carpet. This diversity included one Archaea, 189 Bacteria, 24 Chromista, 19 Fungi, eight Metazoa, seven Protista and 16 Viridiplantae. Bacteria was the most abundant, rich and diverse group, with Chromista second in diversity and richness. Metazoa was less diverse but second highest in dominance. This is the first study to attempt transplanting a significant area of moss carpet to minimize anthropogenic environmental damage in Antarctica and to use metabarcoding as a proxy to assess diversity associated with Antarctic moss carpets, further highlighting the importance of such habitats for other organisms and their importance for conservation.
Authors: Câmara, Paulo E.A.S., Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey, Rangel, Sandro B., Konrath, Marcelo, Barreto, Cristine Chaves, Pinto, Otavio H.B., Silva, Micheline Carvalho, Henriques, Diego Knop, de Oliveira, Hermeson Cassiano, Rosa, Luiz H.