Antarctic Science

IX SCAR International Biology Symposium

First evidence for a bipolar distribution of dominant freshwater lake bacterioplankton

David A. Pearcea1 c1, Charles S. Cockella2, Eva S. Lindströma3 and Lars J. Tranvika3

a1 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OET, UK

a2 Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK

a3 Limnology/Department of Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, SE 75236 Uppsala, Sweden


As a result of the recent application of DNA based technology to the investigation of maritime Antarctic freshwater lakes, patterns have begun to emerge in the bacterioplankton communities that dominate these systems. In this study, the bacterioplankton communities of five Antarctic and five Arctic freshwater lakes were assessed and compared with existing data in the literature, to determine whether emerging patterns in Antarctic lakes also applied to Arctic systems. Such a bipolar comparison is particularly timely, given the current interest in biogeography, the global distribution of microorganisms and the controversy over the global ubiquity hypothesis. In addition, it has recently been discovered that commonly encountered bacterial sequences, often originating from uncultivated bacteria obtained on different continents, form coherent phylogenetic freshwater clusters. In this study we encountered both identical sequences and sequences with a high degree of similarity among the bacterioplankton in lake water from both poles. In addition, Arctic freshwater lakes appeared to be dominated by some of the same groups of bacterioplankton thought to be dominant in Antarctic lakes, the vast majority of which represented uncultivated groups.

(Received March 29 2006)

(Accepted August 16 2006)


c1 *