Microbial communities in an Antarctic coastal ecosystem influenced by glacial melt

Internship position (12 ECTS)
Oceans and Lakes
The western Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth. In Potter Cove, a fjord-like bay on the southern coast of King George Island, a glacier has been actively retreating since the 1950s. Large areas have become ice-free since then and new habitats are establishing on the sea floor. This results in strong changes in the functioning of the sea floor ecosystem. To get insight in the long-term changes, it is crucial to first understand the spatial and seasonal patterns in sea floor ecosystems. As part of 3 international expeditions in 2015, bacterial communities were sampled in 3 contrasting areas in Potter Cove: 1 location that is ice-free since the 1950s, one that is ice-free since the 1980s and one location that is ice-free since 2002. Samples have been taken in winter, spring and fall. During this internship, the number of bacteria per site and per season can be counted from samples that have been prepared using the acridine orange staining (AODC, Acridine Orange Direct Counting technique). The results of this internship will bring us a step further in the understanding of the structure and functioning of this precious coastal ecosystem. This is important to make statements about the scale at which the effects of the melting glacier take place.
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Susana Vázquez (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Reference Number: RP-47891