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To study subglacial hydrological condition and its influence on the glacier dynamics, we drilled Johnsons Glacier on Livingston Island in the Antarctic Peninsula region. Subglacial water pressure was recorded in boreholes at two locations over 2 years, accompanied by high-frequency ice-speed measurements during two summer melt seasons. Water pressure showed two different regimes, namely high frequency and large amplitude variations during the melt season (January–April) and small fluctuations near the overburden pressure the rest of the year. Speed-up events were observed several times in each summer measurement period. Ice motion during these events substantially contributed to total glacier motion, for example, fast ice flow over 1 week accounted for ~70% of the total displacement over a 25-day long measurement period. We did not find a clear relationship between subglacial water pressure and ice speed. This was probably because subglacial hydraulic conditions were spatially inhomogeneous and thus our borehole data did not always represent a large-scale subglacial condition. Ice temperature measurements in the boreholes confirmed the existence of a cold ice layer near the glacier surface. Our data provide a basis to better understand the dynamic and hydrological conditions of relatively unstudied glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula region.
Cyanobacterial communities on a glacier in the Qilian Shan, western China, were investigated using microscopic as well as 16S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer gene analyses. Microscopy revealed that there were abundant cyanobacteria on the entire glacier surface and their community consisted mainly of three morphological types. Low-cycle 16S rRNA gene sequences from six clone libraries were grouped into a total of eight cyanobacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs), defined as 16S rRNA sequences with similarity of 99%. Although the cyanobacterial community based on morphological types displayed no significant differences among the study sites on the glacier, the community based on OTU groups varied among sites. This inconsistency may be due to simple morphology which might hide a large genetic variability. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the OTU groups included the orders Oscillatoriales, Chroococcales and unclassified, and the majority of OTUs were Oscillatoriales. From the source environments of the cyanobacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences of each OTU on the glacier estimated by BLAST search (>97% similarity), 39.9% were from soil, 38.2% from fresh water and 1.7% from snow and ice environments. Based on geographical records in the database, all cyanobacterial OTUs were matched to those recorded from the Arctic and Antarctica. The results suggest that the cyanobacterial communities on the glacier are common in cold regions of the world and are likely not to be specialized members of the snow and ice biota but also inhabitants of soil and freshwater environments.
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