2022 Volume 37 Issue 2 Article ID: ME21069
The rhizosphere microbiome of the native Antarctic hairgrass Deschampsia antarctica from the central maritime Antarctic was investigated using 16S RNA metagenomics and compared to those of the second native Antarctic plant Colobanthus quitensis and closely related temperate D. cespitosa. The rhizosphere microbial communities of D. antarctica and D. cespitosa had high taxon richness, while that of C. quitensis had markedly lower diversity. The majority of bacteria in the rhizosphere communities of the hairgrass were affiliated to Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria. The rhizosphere of C. quitensis was dominated by Actinobacteria. All microbial communities included high proportions of unique amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) and there was high heterogeneity between samples at the ASV level. The soil parameters examined did not explain this heterogeneity. Bacteria belonging to Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria were sensitive to fluctuations in the soil surface temperature. The values of the United Soil Surface Temperature Influence Index (UTII, Iti) showed that variations in most microbial communities from Galindez Island were associated with microscale variations in temperature. Metabolic predictions in silico using PICRUSt 2.0, based on the taxonomically affiliated part of the microbiomes, showed similarities with the rhizosphere community of D. antarctica in terms of the predicted functional repertoire. The results obtained indicate that these communities are involved in the primary processes of soil development (particularly the degradation of lignin and lignin-derived compounds) in the central maritime Antarctic and may be beneficial for the growth of Antarctic vascular plants. However, due to the limitations associated with interpreting PICRUSt 2.0 outputs, these predictions need to be verified experimentally.