The Antarctic environment has recently been shown to support a high level of diversity of bacteria in the soil given the simplicity and extreme nature of the habitat. Understanding the relationship between soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is critical to predicting and monitoring the effects of ecosystem changes on important soil processes. This study investigated what environment ... factors (moisture, nutrients, mineralogy, geochemistry) drive the microbial diversity in the dry valley soils of Antarctica. Soils were sampled from several different environments (Miers Valley, Mt Erebus thermal soils, Bratina Island meltwater pools, Beacon Valley, Upper Wright Valley and Battleship Promontory) with different environmental factors and analysed for micro-organism using a number of genetic and geochemical analysis such as in situ ATP analysis for quantification of microbial biomass, phylogenetic studies and PCR analysis. The data sets were rather large and detailed and are outlined by season of study in the associated metadata entries.
All of the collected samples are stored at the University of Waikato, Hamilton New Zealand in a PC2 containment facility. Various amounts of the samples are held at the University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa and is indicated below. The samples are stored at -80C. The samples were used for DNA analysis and this analysis uses very little material. Therefore, most if not all, of the ... samples still exist.
In the 2004-2005 field season, soil samples were collected along a transect in the Miers Valley. 12 stations were samples with three samples and the data along with these samples includes elevation, GPS position, volumetric water content, temperature and relative humidity. Mummified seal samples were also collected and the corresponding data includes seal number, location, GPS details, altitude, photo number, dentition number, length and associated notes. Soil samples for the biodiversity study corresponding data includes sample number, GPS information, the date collected, altitude and a site description. A set of full transect samples and samples of hypoliths are held in South Africa.
In the 2005-2006 season, samples of soil, sediment and water were collected from Tramway Ridge, Bratina Island meltwater ponds and in the Miers Valley. A set of soil and hypolith samples are held in South Africa.
In the 2006-2007 season, samples were collected from Tramway Ridge, Mt Erebus, the Miers Valley and Beacon Valley. Samples consisted of soil, hyperrhic measurements, seal samples, cyanbacterial mats and hyperliths. A small number of samples are held in South Africa.
In the 2007-2008 season rocks and sand were collected from the Miers Valley, Upper Wright Valley and Battleship Promontory and several samples were taken to South Africa. A full sample set is held at the University of Waikato.
For more information, please contact the investigator.