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Community metagenomics of Antarctic Protists

– the importance of history versus environment

Dispersal and subsequent colonization of new habitats have important consequences for community composition. In order to study microbial communities it is imperative to know their taxonomic diversity. By the use of molecular techniques the diversity of protists has been shown to be much higher than what older methods indicated. A fundamental question is whether community composition of aquatic protists is a consequence of environmental filtering, mass effects, historical processes or a mix of the previous processes. In this project, marine and freshwater protist composition will be investigated in a lake metacommunity that includes marine-derived and glacial melt-water lakes (Vestfold Hills, Antarctica). These lakes operate very much as islands, imposing certain geographic limitations to populations, as well as dispersal among populations. We have analyzed the community composition using 454-amplicon sequencing technology. We are currently in the data interpretation stage which is being headed by former CanMove postdoc Sylvie Tesson.

Funding by the Swedish Research Council VR and CanMove

Saline lakes
Saline lakes in Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. Photo: Johanna Laybourn-Parry
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Collaborators

Sylvie Tesson

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden