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  • Soil fungi communities from three Antarctic islands were characterised using DNA sequencing. Between October and November 2011, soil samples were collected from Bird Island, Signy Island and Leonie Island in the sub-Antarctic, low maritime and high maritime Antarctic respectively. Soil was collected under populations of Colobanthus quitensis (Kunth) Bartl. and Deschampsia antarctica Desv., the only two native vascular plant species that occur in Antarctica. Total DNA was extracted from the soils and fungal specific primers used to amplify the ribosomal ITS region for subsequent 454 pyrosequencing. Sequences are deposited in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive (study accession SRP068654). Funding was provided by the NERC grants NE/H014098/1, NE/H014772/1 and NE/H01408X/1.

  • Between December 2012 and March 2013, snow measurements were conducted in 3 snow pits at both Gourlay Snowfield and Tuva Glacier, Signy Island, to determine the bacterial diversity within the snowpacks. Sites are denoted ''TX'' and ''GY'', where ''X'' and ''Y'' are numbers representing one of nine snowpits in a grid at Tuva and Gourlay respectively. Snow samples of the ''top'' layer were taken from the surface snow layer at a depth of 0 to 20 cm from the surface; snow samples of the middle ''mid'' layer were taken from 20 cm to the bottom of the snow pit; and samples from the ''ice'' layer were taken from the superimposed ice at the bottom of the snow pit. Snow and ice samples were collected from these pits and transported frozen to the UK for further analysis. Funding was provided by the NERC grants NE/H014446/1 and NE/H014802/1.