In open regions of the Ross Sea, the role of the microbial community in the turnover of organic matter has scarcely been investigated; indeed, very little is known on how microbial distribution and functional diversity respond to environmental conditions and hydrographic structures. During the austral summer of 2017, two pelagic areas of the Ross Sea [the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the nearby Terra Nova Bay polynya (A area), and the continental Shelf Break area near Cape Adare (C area)] were studied at selected depths [surface, Deep Chlorophyll Maximum (DCM), Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), deep waters]. Trophic properties [nutrient concentrations, particulate (POC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and its optically significant fraction (CDOM) were measured, together with the main hydrological variables. Microbial community abundance [total prokaryotes, living, dead, and actively respiring fraction, high- and low nucleic acid cells (HNA and LNA), picoand nano-eukaryotes, culturable heterotrophic bacteria], composition, and metabolism (as whole community and as isolated bacteria) were also assessed. Through a multidisciplinary dataset, this study highlighted the variable response of microbial abundance, diversity, and metabolism of the microbial community to the changing local environmental conditions of the Ross Sea. Different forces, such as organic matter inputs (mostly of detrital nature) released from the Drygalski glacier in the A area, and a coastal-to-offshore gradient in the C area, coexisted within this extreme ecosystem. This resulted in a significant spatial segregation of the edaphic parameters, and of the microbial community distribution and metabolic activity patterns.
Trophic and Microbial Patterns in the Ross Sea Area (Antarctica): Spatial Variability during the Summer Season / Azzaro, Maurizio; Specchiulli, Antonietta; Maimone, Giovanna; Azzaro, Filippo; Lo Giudice, Angelina; Papale, Maria; La Ferla, Rosabruna; Paranhos, Rodolfo; Souza Cabral, Anderson; Ciro Rappazzo, Alessandro; Renzi, Monia; Castagno, Pasquale; Falco, Pierpaolo; Rivaro, Paola; Caruso, Gabriella. - In: JOURNAL OF MARINE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. - ISSN 2077-1312. - ELETTRONICO. - 10:(2022). [10.3390/jmse10111666]