Journal- or magazine-article
Els, Nora and Greilinger, Marion and Reisecker, Michael and Tignat-Perrier, Romie and Baumann-Stanzer, Kathrin and Kasper-Giebl, Anne and Sattler, Birgit and Larose, Catherine
Comparison of Bacterial and Fungal Composition and Their Chemical Interaction in Free Tropospheric Air and Snow Over an Entire Winter Season at Mount Sonnblick, Austria
Frontiers in Microbiology
We investigated the interactions of air and snow over one entire winter accumulation period as well as the importance of chemical markers in a pristine free-tropospheric environment to explain variation in a microbiological dataset. To overcome the limitations of short term bioaerosol sampling, we sampled the atmosphere continuously onto quartzfiber air filters using a DIGITEL high volume PM10 sampler. The bacterial and fungal communities, sequenced using Illumina MiSeq, as well as the chemical components of the atmosphere were compared to those of a late season snow profile. Results reveal strong dynamics in the composition of bacterial and fungal communities in air and snow. In fall the two compartments were similar, suggesting a strong interaction between them. The overlap diminished as the season progressed due to an evolution within the snowpack throughout winter and spring. Certain bacterial and fungal genera were only detected in air samples, which implies that a distinct air microbiome might exist. These organisms are likely not incorporated in clouds and thus not precipitated or scavenged in snow. Although snow appears to be seeded by the atmosphere, both air and snow showed differing bacterial and fungal communities and chemical composition. Season and alpha diversity were major drivers for microbial variability in snow and air, and only a few chemical markers were identified as important in explaining microbial diversity. Air microbial community variation was more related to chemical markers than snow microbial composition. For air microbial communities Cl<sup>–</sup>, TC/OC, SO<sub>4</sub><sup>2–</sup>, Mg<sup>2+</sup>, and Fe/Al, all compounds related to dust or anthropogenic activities, were identified as related to bacterial variability while dust related Ca<sup>2+</sup> was significant in snow. The only common driver for snow and air was SO<sub>4</sub><sup>2–</sup>, a tracer for anthropogenic sources. The occurrence of chemical compounds was coupled with boundary layer injections in the free troposphere (FT). Boundary layer injections also caused the observed variations in community composition and chemistry between the two compartments. Long-term monitoring is required for a more valid insight in post-depositional selection in snow.