Susanne A Kraemer, Arthi Ramachandran, Vera E Onana, William K W Li, David A Walsh

A multiyear time series (2004–2012) of bacterial and archaeal community dynamics in a changing Arctic Ocean

  • General Medicine

Abstract Climate change is profoundly impacting the Arctic, leading to a loss of multiyear sea ice and a warmer, fresher upper Arctic Ocean. The response of microbial communities to these climate-mediated changes is largely unknown. Here, we document the interannual variation in bacterial and archaeal communities across a 9-year time series of the Canada Basin that includes two historic sea ice minima (2007 and 2012). We report an overall loss of bacterial and archaeal community richness and significant shifts in community composition. The magnitude and period of most rapid change differed between the stratified water layers. The most pronounced changes in the upper water layers (surface mixed layer and upper Arctic water) occurred earlier in the time series, while changes in the lower layer (Pacific-origin water) occurred later. Shifts in taxonomic composition across time were subtle, but a decrease in Bacteroidota taxa and increase in Thaumarchaeota and Euryarchaeota taxa were the clearest signatures of change. This time series provides a rare glimpse into the potential influence of climate change on Arctic microbial communities; extension to the present day should contribute to deeper insights into the trajectory of Arctic marine ecosystems in response to warming and freshening.

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