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Ecosystem function decays by fungal outbreaks in Antarctic microbial mats

AuthorsVelázquez, David; López-Bueno, Alberto ; Aguirre de Cárcer, Daniel ; Ríos, Asunción de los ; Alcamí, Antonio ; Quesada, Antonio
Issue Date14-Mar-2016
PublisherNature Publishing Group
CitationScientific Reports 6 (2016)
AbstractAntarctica harbours a remarkably diverse range of freshwater bodies and terrestrial ecosystems, where microbial mats are considered the most important systems in terms of biomass and metabolic capabilities. We describe the presence of lysis plaque-like macroscopic blighted patches within the predominant microbial mats on Livingston Island (Antarctic Peninsula). Those blighting circles are associated with decay in physiological traits as well as nitrogen depletion and changes in the spatial microstructure; these alterations were likely related to disruption of the biogeochemical gradients within the microbial ecosystem caused by an unusually high fungal abundance and consequent physical alterations. This phenomenon has been evidenced at a time of unprecedented rates of local warming in the Antarctic Peninsula area, and decay of these ecosystems is potentially stimulated by warmer temperatures.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1038/srep22954
issn: 2045-2322
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