Microbial dynamics in glacier forefield soils show succession is not just skin deep

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-966
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number5
Early online date23 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
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All over the world, glaciers are receding. One key consequence of glacier area loss is the creation of new terrestrial habitats. This presents an experimental opportunity to study both community formation and the implications of glacier loss for terrestrial ecosystems. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Rime et al. (2015) describe how microbial communities are structured according to soil depth and development in the forefield of Damma glacier in Switzerland. The study provides insights into the contrasting structures of microbial communities at different stages of soil development. An important strength of the study is the integration of soil depth into the paradigm of primary succession, a feature which has rarely been considered by other studies. These findings underscore the importance of studying the interactions between microbial communities and glaciers at a time when Earth's glacial systems are experiencing profound change.


  • community development, forefield, glacier, pyrosequencing, succession