Skip to Content | Contact

Molecular diversity of Antarctic soil meiofauna explored using high-throughput sequencing

Molecular diversity of Antarctic soil meiofauna explored using high-throughput sequencing
Paul Czechowski

Authors

Paul Czechowski1,2,3, Laurence J. Clarke2, Alan Cooper2 and Mark I. Stevens3

  1. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  2. Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  3. South Australian Museum, Adelaide, Australia

Abstract

Terrestrial vertebrate species are absent from continental Antarctica, but some small, isolated ice-free regions support simple invertebrate meiofaunal communities (springtails, mites, nematodes, rotifers, tardigrades). The distribution of Antarctic invertebrates remains unknown, as the majority of remote ice-free areas have not been surveyed. Also, the biotic or abiotic drivers of soil organism distribution remain elusive. In addition, the evolutionary history of the Antarctic meiofauna is intriguing, as it may have persisted in isolation for millions of years.

The aim of this research is to develop a cost and time-efficient method to characterise Antarctic invertebrate communities using DNA sequence data generated with high-throughput sequencing platforms. Application of these methods to 280 soil samples collected from three sites in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica will expand the baseline record of biological information in Antarctica.

We have developed a method to amplify a target locus, e.g. cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI), and add barcoded NGS adapters via a linker sequence using a single PCR, providing a flexible, cost-effective and efficient alternative to current approaches used to generate libraries for high-throughput sequencing. The method is easily transferable to different sequencing platforms and its suitability for use with environmental DNA is currently being tested.

The potential to screen many samples using high-throughput sequencing technology will facilitate large-scale biodiversity surveys in Antarctica. Combining information on species distributions in the Prince Charles Mountains and other Antarctic regions with environmental metadata will provide valuable insights on biotic and abiotic drivers in Antarctic ecosystems.

Latest news

  • Conference prize winners
    27 Jun 2013

    The Strategic Science in Antarctica conference concluded yesterday and two days of workshops have commenced. Congratulations to those who were awarded prizes for their contributions to the conference.

  • Watch the welcome message from Australia's Environment Minister
    24 Jun 2013

    In a welcome message via video from Canberra, Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, reflected on the foresight of earlier decision-makers who agreed to set aside an entire continent for scientific research.

  • Last minute information for attendees
    20 Jun 2013

    There's not too long to wait until the start of the Strategic Science in Antarctica conference, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! Read on for more information about the final program, registration, Twitter, presenters, posters and social functions.

More news…

Key dates

  • 11th June 2013
    Registrations close
  • 21st June 2013
    Registrations at the AAD open for staff
  • 24th June 2013
    Registrations at the venue open
  • 24th June 2013
    Conference commences
  • 26th June 2013
    Conference concludes

More key dates…

This page was last modified on 23 September 2013.