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Bacterial diversity in Himalayan glacial ice and its relationship to dust

Author(s): S. Zhang | S. Hou | Y. Wu | D. Qin

Journal: Biogeosciences Discussions
ISSN 1810-6277

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 3433;
Date: 2008;
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Concentrations and community diversity of bacteria from 50 segments of a 108.83 m ice core drilled from the East Rongbuk (ER) Glacier (28.03° N, 86.96° E, 6518 m above sea level) on the northeast slope of Mt. Qomolangma (Everest), covering the period 950–1963 AD, were investigated by epifluorescence microscope, DGGE and Shannon-Weaver index analysis. There are four general periods of bacterial diversity, corresponding to four phases of dust abundance revealed by Ca2+ concentrations. It is indicated that higher bacterial community diversity is associated with warm periods, while lower bacterial community diversity with cold periods. However, a previously suggested positive correlation between bacterial and Ca2+ concentrations was not indicated by our observations. In fact, a weakly negative correlation was found between these two parameters. Our results suggest that bacterial community diversity, rather than concentrations, might be a suitable biological proxy for the reconstruction of past climatic and environmental changes preserved in glacial ice.
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