Soil ecology and biogeochemistry in hot and cold deserts

Soil ecologyNot all of Antarctica is covered with ice! Much of the exposed land use surface is however a desert because of the absence of liquid water under the cold conditions. The Antarctic dry valleys are at the extreme of terrestrial ecosystems on the Earth. Research in this area has focussed on carbon cycling processes in the Dry Valleys, the distribution and diversity of microorganisms (including viruses) and resources at with latitude and responses of soil organisms to environmental change. Recently this work has been extended to consider analogous questions in hot dry deserts (Namib).

Selected publications:

  • Dennis, P.G., Newsham, KK., Rushton, S.P. Ord, V.J., O'Donnell, A.G. & Hopkins, D.W. (2013) Warming constrains bacterial community responses to nutrient inputs in a southern, but not northern, maritime Antarctic soil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 57, 248-255.
  • Dennis, P.G., Rushton, S.P., Newsham, K.K., Laudicina, V.A., Ord, V.J., Daniell, T.J., O'Donnell, A.G. & Hopkins, D.W. (2012) Soil fungal community composition does not alter along a latitudinal gradient through the maritime and sub-Antarctic. Fungal Ecology 5, 403-408.
  • Swanson, M.M., Reavy, B., Makarova, K.S., Cock, P.J., Hopkins, D.W., Torrance, L., Koonin, E., Taliansky, M. (2012) Novel bacteriophages containing a genome of another bacteriophage within their genomes. PLoS One 7, e40683.
  • Hill, P.W., Farrar, J., Roberts, P., Farrell, M., Grant, H., Newsham, K.K., Hopkins, D.W., Bardgett, R.D. & Jones, D.L. (2011) Vascular plant success in a warming Antarctic may be due to efficient nitrogen acquisition. Nature Climate Change 1, 50-53.
  • Hopkins, D.W., Sparrow, A.D., Gregorich, E.G., Elberling, B., Novis, P., Fraser, F., Scrimgeour, C., Dennis, P.G. Meier-Augenstein, W. and Greenfield, L.G. (2009) Isotopic evidence for the provenance and turnover of organic carbon by soil microorganisms in the Antarctic dry valleys. Environmental Microbiology 11, 597-608.