Icescape-scale metabolomics reveals cyanobacterial and topographic control of the core metabolism of the cryoconite ecosystem of an Arctic ice cap

Jarishma Gokul, Luis Mur, Andrew J. Hodson, Tristram Irvine-Fynn, Aliyah Debbonaire, Nozomu Takeuchi, Arwyn Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Glaciers host ecosystems comprised of biodiverse and active microbiota. Among glacial ecosystems, less is known about the ecology of ice caps since most studies focus on valley glaciers or ice sheet margins. Previously we detailed the microbiota of one such high Arctic ice cap, focusing on cryoconite as a microbe-mineral aggregate formed by cyanobacteria. Here, we employ metabolomics at the scale of an entire ice cap to reveal the major metabolic pathways prevailing in the cryoconite of Foxfonna, central Svalbard. We reveal how geophysical and biotic processes influence the metabolomes of its resident cryoconite microbiota. We observed differences in amino acid, fatty acid, and nucleotide synthesis across the cap reflecting the influence of ice topography and the cyanobacteria within cryoconite. Ice topography influences central carbohydrate metabolism and nitrogen assimilation, whereas bacterial community structure governs lipid, nucleotide, and carotenoid biosynthesis processes. The prominence of polyamine metabolism and nitrogen assimilation highlights the importance of recycling nitrogenous nutrients. To our knowledge, this study represents the first application of metabolomics across an entire ice mass, demonstrating its utility as a tool for revealing the fundamental metabolic processes essential for sustaining life in supraglacial ecosystems experiencing profound change due to Arctic climate change-driven mass loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2549-2563
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Volume25
Issue number11
Early online date24 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Arctic Regions
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem
  • Ice Cover/microbiology
  • Microbiota
  • Nitrogen
  • Nucleotides

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Icescape-scale metabolomics reveals cyanobacterial and topographic control of the core metabolism of the cryoconite ecosystem of an Arctic ice cap'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this