Debris-covered glaciers (DCGs) are glaciers whose ablation area is mostly covered by a continuous layer of debris, and are considered to be among the continental glacierized environments richest in life. DCG colonization by microorganisms, plants and animals, has been investigated in a few studies, while the meiofauna (metazoans smaller than 2 mm) of these environments has been neglected so far. In this study, we analyzed nematode and rotifer fauna on the two largest debris-covered glaciers of the Italian Alps: the Miage Glacier and the Belvedere Glacier. In total, we collected 38 debris samples on the glaciers in July and September 2009. All the rotifers we found belonged to the bdelloid Adineta vaga (Davis, 1873). Nematodes belonged to 19 species. Miage Glacier hosted a richer and more diverse nematode fauna than the Belvedere. The dominant genus was Plectus Bastian, 1865, a common genus in habitats at high latitude and altitude. Analysis of the feeding type of nematodes highlighted that bacterivores were dominant on Miage Glacier, while bacterivores and herbivores were more widespread on Belvedere Glacier. Predator nematodes were absent. Analysis of the food-web structure indicated that nematode assemblages on both glaciers were typical of environments with depleted food availability, probably resulting from instability of the glacier surface and the short exposure of sediments, preventing the evolution of true soil and enrichment in organic matter of the debris. The scarcity of bacterial primary producers suggests that deposition of allochthonous organic matter is the principal organic carbon source in this environment.

Nematodes and rotifers on two Alpine debris-covered glaciers / R.S. Azzoni, A. Franzetti, D. Fontaneto, A. Zullini, R. Ambrosini. - In: THE ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY. - ISSN 1125-0003. - 82:4(2015), pp. 616-623. [10.1080/11250003.2015.1080312]

Nematodes and rotifers on two Alpine debris-covered glaciers

R.S. Azzoni;D. Fontaneto;R. Ambrosini
2015

Abstract

Debris-covered glaciers (DCGs) are glaciers whose ablation area is mostly covered by a continuous layer of debris, and are considered to be among the continental glacierized environments richest in life. DCG colonization by microorganisms, plants and animals, has been investigated in a few studies, while the meiofauna (metazoans smaller than 2 mm) of these environments has been neglected so far. In this study, we analyzed nematode and rotifer fauna on the two largest debris-covered glaciers of the Italian Alps: the Miage Glacier and the Belvedere Glacier. In total, we collected 38 debris samples on the glaciers in July and September 2009. All the rotifers we found belonged to the bdelloid Adineta vaga (Davis, 1873). Nematodes belonged to 19 species. Miage Glacier hosted a richer and more diverse nematode fauna than the Belvedere. The dominant genus was Plectus Bastian, 1865, a common genus in habitats at high latitude and altitude. Analysis of the feeding type of nematodes highlighted that bacterivores were dominant on Miage Glacier, while bacterivores and herbivores were more widespread on Belvedere Glacier. Predator nematodes were absent. Analysis of the food-web structure indicated that nematode assemblages on both glaciers were typical of environments with depleted food availability, probably resulting from instability of the glacier surface and the short exposure of sediments, preventing the evolution of true soil and enrichment in organic matter of the debris. The scarcity of bacterial primary producers suggests that deposition of allochthonous organic matter is the principal organic carbon source in this environment.
Belvedere Glacier; food-depleted food-webs; meiofauna; Miage Glacier; structure index; Animal Science and Zoology
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
Settore BIO/19 - Microbiologia Generale
Settore GEO/04 - Geografia Fisica e Geomorfologia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/605316
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