Paleontological Journal

, Volume 52, Issue 10, pp 1186–1195 | Cite as

Microbial Communities of Soils and Soil-like Bodies in Extreme Conditions of East Antarctica

  • V. S. SoinaEmail author
  • N. S. Mergelov
  • A. G. Kudinova
  • L. V. Lysak
  • E. V. Demkina
  • E. A. Vorobyova
  • A. V. Dolgikh
  • I. G. Shorkunov


Results of an integrated study of microbial communities in soils and soil-like bodies formed in the wet intermountain valleys of East Antarctic oases under moss-, lichen-, algae- or cyanobacteria-dominated associations are summarized. Colonization of soil horizons by microorganisms, microbial biomass, potential biological activity, high viability of soil microorganisms and their resistance to extreme environmental conditions are considered. Perspectives of microbiological studies addressed towards evaluation of the functional role of microorganisms in the formation of Antarctica soils are discussed.


microbial communities soils biomass 



The work was supported in part by the RAS Presidium Program “Evolution of the Organic World and Planetary Processes” (PRAN 1.22P), the Russian Science Foundation project no. 14-50-00029 (in the separation of microbial cultures, their identification, and storage), the Russian Science Foundation project no. 14-27-00133  (in the soil studies in East Antarctica), and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 16-04-01776a (in the study of endolithic and hypolithic systems).


  1. 1.
    Aislabie, J., Jordan, S., Ayton, J., Klassen, J.L., Barker, G.M., and Turner, S., Bacterial diversity associated with ornithogenic soil of the Ross Sea region, Antarctica, Can. J. Microbiol., 2009, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 21–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bottos, E., Scarrow, J., Archer, S., McDonald, I., and Cary, S., Bacterial community structures of Antarctic soils, in Antarctic Terrestrial Microbiology: Physical and Microbiological Properties of Antarctic Soils, Cowan, D.A., Ed., Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2014, pp. 9–33.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brambilla, E., Hippe, H., Hagelstein, A., Tindall, B.J., and Stackebrandt, E., 16S rDNA diversity of cultured and uncultured prokaryotes of a mat sample from Lake Fryxell, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, Extremophiles, 2001, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 23–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cameron, R.E., Hanson, R.B., Lacy, G.N., and Morelli, F.A., Soil microbial and ecological investigations in the Antarctic interior, Antarct. J. US, 1970, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 87–88.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cary, S.C., McDonald, I.R., Barrett, J.I., and Cowan, D.A., On the rocks: the microbiology of Antarctic Dry Valley soils, Nat. Rev. Microbiol., 2002, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 129–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cowan, D.A., Cryptic microbial communities in Antarctic deserts, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2009, vol. 106, no. 47, pp. 19749–19750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cowan, D.A., Russel, N., Mamais, A., and Sheppard, D., Antarctic Dry Valley mineral soils contain unexpectedly high levels of microbial biomass, Extremophiles, 2002, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 431–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dolgikh, A.V., Mergelov, N.S., Lupachev, A.V., and Goryachkin, S.V., Variety of soils and soil-like bodies in Tala Hills Oasis (Eastern Antarctica), Materialy I Mezhdunarodnoi nauchno-prakticheskoi konferentsii “Monitoring sostoyaniya prirodnoi sredy Antarktiki i obespechenie deyatel’nosti natsional’nykh ekspeditsii”: K.p. Naroch’, 26–29 Maya 2014 g. (Proceedings of the 1st International Scientific and Practical Conference “Monitoring of the Antarctic Environment and Ensuring the Activities of National Expeditions”; Naroch, May 26–29, 2014), Minsk: Ekoperspektiva, 2014, pp. 78–82.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Egorova, S.V., Lavrova, V.A., Petrov-Spiridonov, A.A., and Kalininskaya, T.A., Biological fixation of nitrogen in forest biogeocenoses, Azotfiksatsiya v lesnykh biogeotsenozakh (Nitrogen Fixation in Forest Biogeocenoses),Vompersky, S.E., Ed., Moscow: Nauka, 1987, pp. 5–43.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Friedmann, E.I., Endolithic microorganisms in the Antarctic cold desert, Science, 1982, vol. 215, no. 4536, pp. 1045–1053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Friedmann, E.I., The Antarctic cold desert and the search for traces of life on Mars, Adv. Space Res., vol. 6, no. 12, 1986, pp. 265–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gilichinsky, D.A., Wilson, G.S., Friedmann, E.I., McKay, C.P., Sletten, R.S., Rivkina, E.M., Vishnivetskaya, T.A., Erokhina, L.G., Ivanushkina, N.E., Kochkina, G.A., Shcherbakova, V.A., Soina, V.S., Spirina, E.V., Vorobyova, E.A., Fyodorov-Davydov, D.G., et al., Microbial populations in Antarctic permafrost: biodiversity, state, age, and implication for astrobiology, Astrobiology, 2007, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 275–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Goordial, J. and Whyte, L., Microbial life in Antarctic permafrost environments, in Antarctic Terrestrial Microbiology: Physical and Microbiological Properties of Antarctic Soils, Cowan, D.A., Ed., Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2014, pp. 219–232.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Heatwole, H., Saenger, P., Spain, A., Kerry, E., and Donelan, J., Biotic and chemical characteristics of some soils from Wilkes Land, Antarctica, Antarct. Sci., 1989, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 225–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hopkins, D.W., Sparrow, A.D., Elberling, B., Gregorich, E.G., Novis, P.M., Greenfeld, L.G., and Tilston, E.L., Carbon, nitrogen and temperature controls on microbial activity in soils from an Antarctic dry valley, Soil Biol. Biochem., 2006, vol. 38, no. 10, pp. 3130–3140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kryazhevskikh, N.A., Demkina, E.V., Gal’chenko, V.F., El’-Registan, G.I., Manucharova, N.A., and Soina, V.S., Reactivation of dormant and nonculturable bacterial forms from paleosoils and subsoil permafrost, Microbiology (Moscow), 2012, vol. 81, no. 4, pp. 435–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kryazhevskikh, N.A., Demkina, E.V., Loiko, N.G., Gal’chenko, V.F., El’-Registan, G.I., Baslerov, R.V., Kolganova, T.V., Soina, V.S., and Manucharova, N.A., Comparison of the adaptive potential of the Arthrobacter oxydans and Acinetobacter lwoffii isolates from permafrost sedimentary rock and the analogous collection strains, Microbiology (Moscow), 2013, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 29–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kudinova, A.G., Lysak, L.V., Lapygina, E.V., Soina, V.S., and Mergelov, N.S., Diversity and viability of prokaryotes in primitive soils of the Larsemann oasis (East Antarctica), Biol. Bull., 2015a, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 92–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kudinova, A.G., Lysak, L.V., Soina, V.S., Mergelov, N.S., Dolgikh, A.V., and Shorkunov, I.G., Bacterial communities in the soils of cryptogamic barrens of East Antarctica (the Larsemann Hills and Thala Hills oases), Eurasian Soil Sci., 2015b, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 276–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lysak, L.V., Lapygina, E.V., Konova, I.A., and Zvyagintsev, D.G., Quantity and taxonomic composition of ultramicrobacteria in soils, Microbiology (Moscow), 2010, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 408–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Marfenina, O.E., Nikitin, D.A., and Ivanova, A.E., The structure of fungal biomass and diversity of cultivated micromycetes in Antarctic soils (Progress and Russkaya stations), Eurasian Soil Sci., 2016, vol. 49, no. 8, pp. 934–941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    McKay, C.P., Friedmann, E.I., Gómez-Silva, B., Cáceres-Villanueva, L., Andersen, D.T., and Landheim, R., Temperature and moisture conditions for life in the extreme arid region of the Atacama Desert: four years of observations including the El Niño of 1997–1998, Astrobiology, 2003, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 393–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mergelov, N.S., Soils of wet valleys in the Larsemann Hills and Vestfold Hills oases (Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica), Eurasian Soil Sci., 2014, vol. 47, no. 9, pp. 845–862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mergelov, N.S., Goryachkin, S.V., Shorkunov, I.G., Zazovskaya, E.P., and Cherkinsky, A.E., Endolithic pedogenesis and rock varnish on massive crystalline rocks in East Antarctica, Eurasian Soil Sci., 2012, vol. 45, no. 10, pp. 901–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Mergelov, N.S., Dolgikh, A.V., Zazovskaya, E.P., Konyushkov, D.E., Lupachev, A.V., Fedorov-Davydov, D.G., Shishkov, V.A., Shorkunov, I.G., and Goryachkin, S.V., Soils and soil-like bodies of oases and nunataks in East Antarctica, Geografiya polyarnykh regionov (Geography of Polar Regions), Kotlyakov, V.M., Ed., Voprosy Geografii, Mosk. Filial GO SSSR/Russkoe geogr. Ob-vo, vol. 142, Moscow: Kodeks, 2016a, pp. 593–628.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mergelov, N.S., Shorkunov, I.G., Targulian, V.O., Dolgikh, A.V., Abrosimov, K.N., Zazovskaya, E.P., and Goryachkin, S.V., Soil-like patterns inside the rocks: structure, genesis, and research techniques, in Biogenic–Abiogenic Interactions in Natural and Anthropogenic Systems, Frank-Kamenetskaya, O.V., Panova, E.G., and Vlasov, D.Yu., Eds., Lecture Notes in Earth System Sciences, Cham, Switzerland: Springer Int. Publ. AG, 2016b, pp. 205–222.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Oleskin, A.V., Botvinko, I.V., and Tsavkelova, E.A., Colonial Organization and Intercellular Communication in Microorganisms, Microbiology (Moscow), 2000, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 249–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Rojas, J.L., Martín, J., Tormo, J.R., Vicente. F., Brunati, M., Ciciliato, I., Losi, D., Van Trappen, S., Mergaert, J., Swings, J., Marinelli, F., and Genilloud, O., Bacterial diversity from benthic mats of Antarctic lakes as a source of new bioactive metabolites, Mar. Genom., 2009, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 33–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Saul, D.J., Aislabie, J.M., Brown, C.E., Harris, L., and Foght, J.M., Hydrocarbon contamination changes the bacterial diversity of soil from around Scott Base, Antarctica, FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., 2005, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 141–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Stepanov, A.L. and Lysak, L.V., Metody gazovoi khromatografii v pochvennoi mikrobiologii (Use of Gas Chromatography in Soil Microbiology), Moscow: MAKS Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tamppari, L.K., Anderson, R.M., Archer, P.D., Douglas, S., Kounaves, S.P., McKay, C.P., Ming, D.W., Moore, Q., Quinn, J.E., Smith, P.H., Stroble, S., and Zent, A.P., Effects of extreme cold and aridity on soils and habitability: McMurdo Dry Valleys as an analogue for the Mars Phoenix landing site, Antarct. Sci., 2012, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 211–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Terauds, A., Chown, S.L., Morgan, F., Peat, H.J., Watts, D.J., Keys, H., Convey, P., and Bergstrom, D.M., Conservation biogeography of the Antarctic, Div. Distrib., 2012, vol. 18, no. 7, pp. 726–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    The Soils of Antarctica, Bockheim, J.G., Ed., Cham, Switzerland: Springer-Verlag, 2015.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Vishniac, H.S., The microbiology of Antarctic soils, Antarctic Microbiology, Friedmann, E.I., Ed., New York: Wiley-Liss, Inc., 1993, pp. 297–341.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Voloshin, S.A. and Kaprelyants, A.S., Cell-cell interactions in bacterial populations, Biochemistry (Moscow), 2004, vol. 69, no. 11, pp. 1268–1275.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Vorobyova, E.A., Minkovsky, N., Mamukelashvili, A.G., Zvyagintsev, D.G., Soina, V.S., Polanskaya, L.M., and Gilichinsky, D.A., Microorganisms and biomarkers in permafrost, Permafrost Response on Economic Development, Environmental Security and Natural Resources, Paepe, R. and Melnikov, V.P., Eds., Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Acad. Publ., 2001, pp. 527–541.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Zazovskaya, E.P., Mergelov, N.S., Shishkov, V.A., Dolgikh, A.V., Miamin, V., Cherkinsky, A.E., and Goryachkin, S.V., Radiocarbon age of soils in oases of East Antarctica, Radiocarbon, 2017, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 489–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. S. Soina
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. S. Mergelov
    • 2
  • A. G. Kudinova
    • 1
  • L. V. Lysak
    • 1
  • E. V. Demkina
    • 3
  • E. A. Vorobyova
    • 1
  • A. V. Dolgikh
    • 2
  • I. G. Shorkunov
    • 2
  1. 1.Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Federal Research Center “Fundamentals of Biotechnology”, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations