Journal Article Atmospheric bioaerosols originating from Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae): Ecological observations of airborne bacteria at Hukuro Cove, Langhovde, Antarctica

10 ( 1 )  , pp.71 - 78 , 2016-03
The relationship between atmospheric bioaerosols and ecosystems is currently of global importance. Antarctica has an extreme climate, meaning that ecosystem behavior in this region is relatively simple. Direct sampling of atmospheric bioaerosols was performed at an Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) colony at Hukuro Cove, Langhovde, Antarctica on 22 January 2013. The aim of the sampling was to reveal the effect of the penguins on the Antarctic ecosystem within the atmospheric bioaerosols. Samples were bio-analyzed using a next-generation sequencing method. Biomass concentrations of Bacilli-class bacteria were 19.4 times higher when sampled leeward of the penguin colony compared with windward sampling. The source of these bacteria was the feces of the penguins. Predicted atmospheric trajectories indicate that the bacteria disperse towards the Southern Ocean. The largest biomass concentration in the windward bacteria was of the Gammaproteobacteria class, which decreased markedly with distance through the penguin colony, being deposited on soil, surface water, and ocean. It is concluded that bioaerosols and ecosystems near the penguin colony strongly influence each other.

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