Comparing temperature sensitivity of bacterial growth in Antarctic marine water and soil

Natasja C. van Gestel, Hugh W. Ducklow, Erland Bååth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The western Antarctic Peninsula is an extreme low temperature environment that is warming rapidly due to global change. Little is known, however, on the temperature sensitivity of growth of microbial communities in Antarctic soils and in the surrounding oceanic waters. This is the first study that directly compares temperature adaptation of adjacent marine and terrestrial bacteria in a polar environment. The bacterial communities in the ocean were adapted to lower temperatures than those from nearby soil, with cardinal temperatures for growth in the ocean being the lowest so far reported for microbial communities. This was reflected in lower minimum (Tmin) and optimum temperatures (Topt) for growth in water (−17 and +20°C, respectively) than in soil (−11 and +27°C), with lower sensitivity to changes in temperature (Q10; 0–10°C interval) in Antarctic water (2.7) than in soil (3.9). This is likely due to the more stable low temperature conditions of Antarctic waters than soils, and the fact that maximum in situ temperatures in water are lower than in soils, at least in summer. Importantly, the thermally stable environment of Antarctic marine water makes it feasible to create a single temperature response curve for bacterial communities. This would thus allow for calculations of temperature-corrected growth rates, and thereby quantifying the influence of factors other than temperature on observed growth rates, as well as predicting the effects of future temperature increases on Antarctic marine bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2280-2291
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Antarctica
  • Q
  • T
  • bacterial growth
  • global change
  • marine
  • soil
  • temperature sensitivity


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing temperature sensitivity of bacterial growth in Antarctic marine water and soil'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this