, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 115-124

Distribution of bacterial numbers and biomass in soils and on plants from King George Island (Arctowski Station, Maritime Antarctica)

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Abstract

Bacterial numbers and biomass associated with soils and plants from King George Island, Maritime Antarctica, were analysed by epifluorescence microscopy. Sampling was carried out during austral summer 1992/1993 at different sites in the vicinity of Arctewski Station. The sites were located at areas with different plant cover. Soil samples were taken to a depth of 50 cm. All microscopic analyses were carried out in the laboratory immediately after sampling. The bacterial community showed great variations related to soil organic matter and plant cover. Highest values of number and biomass of bacteria were found in the surface layers as well as on leaves of Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis. Lichen (Usnea antarctica, U. aurantiaco-atra) were much less covered with bacteria. Mean cell volume of bacteria can be regarded as an important descriptor of the bacterial community. Changes in this parameter can be related to environmental factors. Fungi and yeasts were seldom observed.