Published Date2019-12-18
JournalMicrobial ecology, 2019-12-18 Find other publications in this journal
Author Info
  • Biology Department, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, USA.
  • Environmental Science Department, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, USA.
  • Climate Change Institute, School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA.


We assessed the microbial community structure of six arctic lakes in West Greenland and investigated relationships to lake physical and chemical characteristics. Lakes from the ice sheet region exhibited the highest species richness, while inland and plateau lakes had lower observed taxonomical diversity. Lake habitat differentiation during summer stratification appeared to alter within lake microbial community composition in only a subset of lakes, while lake variability across regions was a consistent driver of microbial community composition in these arctic lakes. Principal coordinate analysis revealed differentiation of communities along two axes: each reflecting differences in morphometric (lake surface area), geographic (latitude and distance from the ice sheet), physical lake variables (water clarity), and lakewater chemistry (dissolved organic carbon [DOC], dissolved oxygen [DO], total nitrogen [TN], and conductivity). Understanding these relationships between environmental variables and microbial communities is especially important as heterotrophic microorganisms are key to organic matter decomposition, nutrient cycling, and carbon flow through nutrient poor aquatic environments in the Arctic.