Molecular Microbial Ecology



Antarctic Protist Culture Collection

The Antarctic culture collection consists of a diverse assortment of protists representing many of the groups found in marine microbial communities and several novel psychrophilic protists (1,2). The cultures were originally collected as enrichment samples during a Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) cruise and a Life in extreme Environments (LExEn) cruise on board the Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP). The protists were collected from water, ice, slush and sediment environments in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. The collection now consists of approximately 80 clonal and uniprotistan cultures in addition to 150 mixed enrichments. Dr. David Caron from the University of Southern California and Dr. Rebecca Gast from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are working together to investigate Antarctic microbial ecology. The protist collection serves as a tool for assessing Antarctic microbial community structure and function (3). The cultures are used in physiological experiments such as growth and grazing experiments (4). The cultures also support molecular field work by connecting phenotypes with genotypes (5).

1. 2006 Gast, R.J., D.M. Moran, D.J. Beaudoin, J.N. Blythe, M.R. Dennett and D.A. Caron. High abundance of a novel dinoflagellate phylotype in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, Journal of Phycology 42:233-242.

2. 2007 Moran, D.M., O.R. Anderson, M.R. Dennett, D.A. Caron and R.J. Gast. A description of seven Antarctic marine Gymnamoebae including a new subspecies, two new species and a new genus: Neoparamoeba aestuarina antarctica n subsp., Platyamoeba oblongata n. sp., Platyamoeba contorta n. sp. and Vermistella antarctica n. gen. n. sp., Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 54(2):169-183.

3. 2007 Gast, R.J., D.M. Moran, M.R. Dennett and D.A. Caron. Kleptoplasty in an Antarctic dinoflagellate; caught in evolutionary transition?, Environmental Microbiology 9(1):39-45. Antarctic dinoflagellate colony cover image.

4. 2007 Rose, JM and DA Caron. Does low temperature constrain the growth rates of heterotrophic protists? Evidence and implications for algal blooms in cold waters, Limnology and Oceanography, (52): 886-895.

5. 2004 Gast, R.J., M.R. Dennett and D.A. Caron. Characterization of protistan assemblages in the Ross Sea, Antarctica by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70:2028-2037.