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Abstract

We assessed culturable soil microfungal diversity in various habitats around Hornsund, Spitsbergen in the High Arctic, using potato dextrose agar ( PDA) medium. Thermal growth classification of the fungi obtained was determined by incubating them in 4 ° Cand 25 ° C, permitting separation of those with psychrophilic, psychrotolerant and mesophilic characteristics. In total, 68 fungal isolates were obtained from 12 soil samples, and grouped into 38 mycelial morphotypes. Intergenic spacer regions of these morphotypes were sequenced, and they represented 25 distinct taxonomic units, of which 21 showed sufficient similarity with available sequence data in NCBI to be identified to species level. Soil under ornithogenic influence showed the highest species diversity, including sequences assigned to Mortierella macrocystis, M. elongata, Mortierella sp., Cudoniella sp., Varicosporium elodeae , Beauveria bassiana , Geomyces pannorum , Penicillium sp. and Atradidymella muscivora . Fourteen taxa were classified as psychrophilic, seven mesophilic, and four psychrotolerant.
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Abstract

Mineral composition of bedrock is the main factor determining salt mineralization in the weathering zone of Seymour (Marambio) Island (maritime — Antarctic continent climatic boundary). Supply of salts by sea water spray can accelerate weathering process, modify chemical formula of salt minerals and give ephemeral efflorescences of easy soluble chlorides and partially longer lasting gypsum on the surface. Microbiologically mediated oxidation of sulphides and followed acid sulphate drainage formed K and Na jarosite, basic amorphous aluminium sulphate, gypsum, aluminium bearing ferrihydrite and ankerite in weathering zone of Paleogene sediments. Intense alteration of well-lithified, calcareous sandstones of unit 1 of the López de Bertodano Formation (Cretaceous) on old erosion surface led localy to surface mineralization comparable with that found in Antarctic Continent. Stones laying on the soil surface are covered by thin red film of ferrihydrite above the soil level and by light green crust of aragonite coloured by glauconite pigment on the underground side. Most of the Cretaceous sediment does not contain sulphides nor alteration susceptible silicates thus ephemeral sea salts efflorescences observed on its surface are more prominent than in another places.
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