IPY: Bacterioplankton genomic adaptations to Antarctic winters

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DEES Murray, Alison E 06/15/2007 - 05/31/2010 National Science Foundation

Keywords: environmental genomics, Antarctica, Antarctic winter, Palmer Station

Palmer StationProject Description

The primary objectives of this program are:

  1. Describe the differences in diversity and genomic content between austral winter and summer bacterioplankton communities. This will allow us to test hypotheses concerning (i) the diversity of bacterioplankton between the Antarctic coastal ecosystem and other lower latitude systems (ii) the functional capacity revealed through a genome content survey and (iii) that there are adaptations (e.g. in amino acid modification) inherent in the Polar bacterioplankton environmental genome that are season-independent.
  2. Investigate the winter-time bacterioplankton growth and cellular signals (mRNA and proteins expressed) in order to understand the specific adaptations and keys to survival. Hypotheses here will test that (i) Bacteria respond to the onset of Austral winter by transitioning into the starvation-survival mode and (ii) Planktonic marine crenarchaeota possess adaptations for enhanced growth and survival in the Austral winter, enabling them to increase in abundance and become a dominant part of the picoplankton community.

Through support from the CSP we have sequenced 8 bacterial SSU rRNA gene libraries spanning the annual cycle totaling over 5500 sequences, 2 eukaryal SSU rRNA gene libraries from austral summer and winter (~1400 sequences), and one archaeal library from austral winter (~700 sequences).

Two large contig (~40kb) fosmid metagenomic libraries have also been created with 10K clones each, and the ends of these fosmid clones have been sequenced resulting in ~ 37,000 end sequences. We also have selected a number of these clones for complete sequencing.

>> International Polar Year: Bacterioplankton genomic adaptations to Antarctic winter project website