Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Effects of penguin guano and moisture on nitrogen biological fixation in maritime Antarctic soils (Forthcoming/Available Online)
Authors: Perez, Cecilia
Aravena, Juan Carlos
Ivanovich, Cristobal
McCulloch, Robert
Contact Email:
Keywords: Biological nitrogen fixation
Ardley Island
Penguin colony
Issue Date: 26-May-2016
Citation: Perez C, Aravena JC, Ivanovich C & McCulloch R (2016) Effects of penguin guano and moisture on nitrogen biological fixation in maritime Antarctic soils (Forthcoming/Available Online), Polar Biology.
Abstract: Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is a high energy-demanding process that may be inhibited by penguin guano. We tested this hypothesis in Ardley Island by measuring BNF in biological soil crusts (BSC) directly within a Penguin Colony and in sites unaffected by penguins. We also explored the effect of adding guano to BSCs in sites free of the influence of penguins. Water availability is also one of the most limiting elements for life in the Antarctica, and we expected that a wetter growing season would stimulate BNF. To evaluate the effect of moisture on BNF, we added water to BSCs under laboratory conditions and estimated BNF by means of the acetylene reduction assay during three growing seasons (2012, 2013 and 2014), with contrasting temperature and precipitation conditions. The results reveal an almost complete inhibition of N fixation in the BSCs of the Penguin Colony. In sites free of ammonium and phosphate in rainwater, BNF rates reached up to 3kgNha −1 year−1 during warmer and wetter years. The addition of guano to BSCs significantly inhibited the rates of BNF. In laboratory incubations, the addition of water significantly stimulated rates of BNF during the warmer growing season with more sunshine hours. The likely increases in soil moisture levels due to climate change and glacier melting in the Antarctic Peninsula may enhance the rates of BNF. However, this may be constrained by accompanying changes in the distribution of Penguin Colonies.
DOI Link:
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository; The final publication is available at Springer via

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Polar Biology Revised Manuscript CPerez et al 2701206.pdf6.82 MBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 27/5/2019     Request a copy

Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependent on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.