The effects of microbial relocation from glaciers to periglacial environments

Stemp, Isobel (2024) The effects of microbial relocation from glaciers to periglacial environments. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Glacier microbial communities, residing on the surface and within subglacial regions, play significant roles in biogeochemical cycling. However, the implications of global deglaciation and the subsequent displacement of these communities into surrounding ecosystems remain insufficiently understood, especially within the context of a warming climate. Here, microcosm incubation experiments were utilised to explore how cryoconite and subglacial communities from Svalbard respond to three temperature conditions: Svalbard’s summertime supraglacial conditions (1oC), the average summertime temperatures of the periglacial region (7oC), and the extreme temperatures recorded in Svalbard during the summer of 2019 (21oC). Viability analysis using live/dead staining revealed the resilience of both cryoconite and subglacial communities, displaying a high viability of 80% and 70% at 21OC, respectively. Additionally, gas chromatography analysis measured CO2 concentrations of 4000ppm in the headspace of cryoconite-containing microcosms, indicating sustained metabolic activity even under warmer conditions of 7oC and 21oC. These findings bear significant importance in understanding the potential role of glacial communities in nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions within newly deglaciated soils. However, low concentrations of CH4 and N2O detected in this study highlight the necessity of refined laboratory techniques and in-situ measurements, as priority research areas to comprehensively assess metabolic activity in glacial samples.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QR Microbiology
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Cameron, Dr. Karen
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84328
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 May 2024 08:56
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 09:02
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84328

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