Researchers Establish Common Seasonal Patterns Among Bacterial Communities in Arctic Rivers

Nov 24, 2009
Courtesy Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research on bacterial communities throughout six large Arctic river ecosystems reveals predictable temporal patterns, suggesting that scientists could use these communities as markers for monitoring climate change in the polar regions. The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition, shows that bacterial communities in the six rivers shifted synchronously over time, correlating with seasonal shifts in hydrology and biogeochemistry.

The research team documents these patterns through a three-year, circumpolar study of planktonic bacterial communities in the six largest rivers of the pan-arctic watershed: the Ob', Yenisey, Lena, Kolyma, Yukon, and Mackenzie Rivers.

"Our results demonstrate that synchrony, seasonality and annual reassembly in planktonic bacterial communities occur on global scales," said lead author Dr. Byron Crump of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory. "Since bacterial communities in big arctic rivers shift predictably with circumpolar seasonal changes in environmental conditions, they may serve as sensitive indicators of in the Arctic."

"The six river systems studied are comparable in size to the in the United States," said coauthor Rainer Amon of Texas A&M University at Galveston. "One of the things we learned is the bacteria communities in all six of them seem to be very similar. There are many questions still to be answered, such as how these bacteria communities might respond to a continued increase in temperature."

This synchrony indicates that hemisphere-scale variation in seasonal climate sets the pace of variation in microbial diversity. Moreover, these seasonal communities reassembled each year in all six rivers, suggesting a long-term, predictable succession in the composition of big river .

Divergence from this synchronous pattern may provide an early signal of climate change in some regions of the Arctic, and may result in changes to river microbial communities and the biogeochemical transformations that they carry out.

Data for this study was collected through the PARTNERS program, a collaboration among scientists from the U.S., Canada and Russia examining the largest rivers of the pan-arctic watershed. By including five of the world's 25 largest rivers in the study, the results provide a unique perspective on global-scale patterns in bacterial diversity.

More information: The article, “Circumpolar synchrony in big river bacterioplankton,” appears in the PNAS Early Edition the week of November 23, 2009 and is authored by Drs. Byron Crump, Bruce Peterson, Peter Raymond, Rainer Amon, Amanda Rinehart, James W. McClelland and R. Max Holmes.

Source: University of Maryland (news : web)

Explore further: NASA sees Typhoon Matmo making second landfall in China

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Arctic river deltas may hold clues to future global climate

May 18, 2009

Scientists struggling to understand how Earth's climate will change in the next few decades have neglected a potential treasure trove of information—sediments deposited in the ocean by major Arctic rivers such as the Colville ...

Bacterial persistence in streams

Aug 05, 2008

A research team from the University of Tennessee (UT) has completed a study on an East Tennessee river to determine the connection between watershed hydrology and fecal bacteria statistical time series analysis. Shesh Koirala ...

Study reveals causes for freshwater increase in oceans

Aug 25, 2006

A new analysis of 50 years of changes in freshwater inputs to the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans may shed light on what’s behind the recently observed increase in freshwater in the North Atlantic. University ...

A global responsibility to help vulnerable communities adapt

May 28, 2009

For one international community - the 165,000 strong Inuit community dispersed across the Arctic coastline in small, remote coastal settlements in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Siberia - it is already too late to prevent ...

Recommended for you

Fires in the Northern Territories July 2014

1 hour ago

Environment Canada has issued a high health risk warning for Yellowknife and surrounding area because of heavy smoke in the region due to forest fires. In the image taken by the Aqua satellite, the smoke ...

How much magma is hiding beneath our feet?

1 hour ago

Molten rock (or magma) has a strong influence on our planet and its inhabitants, causing destructive volcanic eruptions and generating some of the giant mineral deposits. Our understanding of these phenomena ...

Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides

4 hours ago

The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the "remobilization" of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.

User comments : 0