Polar Biology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 346–352 | Cite as

Wind dispersal of soil invertebrates in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

  • Johnson N. Nkem
  • Diana H. WallEmail author
  • Ross A. Virginia
  • John E. Barrett
  • Emma J. Broos
  • Dorota L. Porazinska
  • Byron J. Adams
Original Paper


Dispersal of soil organisms is crucial for their spatial distribution and adaptation to the prevailing conditions of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. This study investigated the possibility of wind dispersal of soil invertebrates within the dry valleys. Soil invertebrates were evaluated in (1) pockets of transported sediments to lake ice and glacier surfaces, (2) wind-transported dust particles in collection pans (Bundt pans) 100 cm above the soil surface, and (3) sediments transported closer to the surface (<50 cm) and collected in open top chambers (OTCs). Invertebrates were extracted and identified. Nematodes were identified to species and classified according to life stage and sex. Three species of nematodes were recovered and Scottnema lindsayae was the most dominant. There were more juveniles (∼71%) in the transported sediments than adults (29%). Tardigrades and rotifers were more abundant in sediments on lake and glacier surfaces while nematodes were more abundant in the dry sediment collections of Bundt pans and OTCs. The abundance of immobile (dead) nematodes in the Bundt pans and OTCs was three times greater than active (live) nematodes. Anhydrobiosis constitutes a survival mechanism that allows wind dispersal of nematodes in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Our results show that soil invertebrates are dispersed by wind in the Dry Valleys and are viable in ice communities on lake surfaces and glaciers.


Soil Nematode Soil Invertebrate Glacier Surface Wind Dispersal Nematode Abundance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors appreciate the assistance from the staff of the Crary Laboratory, at McMurdo Station, PHI Helicopters, Rae Spain and the Soil Ecology team at NREL, Colorado State University. National Science Foundation grant OPP 98-10219 to Diana Wall through the McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research provided funding for this project. Thanks to Andy Parsons, Melody Burkins, Amy Treonis, Steve Blecker, and Lily Hoffman who were involved in various stages of the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnson N. Nkem
    • 1
  • Diana H. Wall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ross A. Virginia
    • 2
  • John E. Barrett
    • 2
  • Emma J. Broos
    • 1
  • Dorota L. Porazinska
    • 3
  • Byron J. Adams
    • 4
  1. 1.Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Studies ProgramDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  3. 3.Fort Lauderdale Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaFloridaUSA
  4. 4.Microbiology and Molecular BiologyBrigham Young University ProvoProvoUSA

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