Prokaryotic Diversity and Distribution in Different Habitats of an Alpine Rock Glacier-Pond System

I. Mania*, R. Gorra, N. Colombo, M. Freppaz, M. Martin, A. M. Anesio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
567 Downloads (Pure)


Rock glaciers (RG) are assumed to influence the biogeochemistry of downstream ecosystems because of the high ratio of rock:water in those systems, but no studies have considered the effects of a RG inflow on the microbial ecology of sediments in a downstream pond. An alpine RG-pond system, located in the NW Italian Alps has been chosen as a model, and Bacteria and Archaea 16S rRNA genes abundance, distribution and diversity have been assessed by qPCR and Illumina sequencing, coupled with geochemical analyses on sediments collected along a distance gradient from the RG inflow. RG surface material and neighbouring soil have been included in the analysis to better elucidate relationships among different habitats. Our results showed that different habitats harboured different, well-separated microbial assemblages. Across the pond, the main variations in community composition (e.g. Thaumarchaeota and Cyanobacteria relative abundance) and porewater geochemistry (pH, DOC, TDN and NH4+) were not directly linked to RG proximity, but to differences in water depth. Some microbial markers potentially linked to the presence of meltwater inputs from the RG have been recognised, although the RG seems to have a greater influence on the pond microbial communities due to its contribution in terms of sedimentary material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-84
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Early online date13 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • 16S rRNA
  • Alpine pond
  • Microbial ecology
  • Rock glacier
  • Sediments


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