11 Oct 2022
 | 11 Oct 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Spatio-temporal changes in cryoconite community, isotopic, and elemental composition over the ablation season of an alpine glacier

Tereza Novotná Jaroměřská, Roberto Ambrosini, Dorota Richter, Miroslawa Pietryka, Przemyslaw Niedzielski, Juliana Souza-Kasprzyk, Piotr Klimaszyk, Andrea Franzetti, Francesca Pittino, Lenka Vondrovicová, Tyler Kohler, and Krzysztof Zawierucha

Abstract. Cryoconite holes (water-filled reservoirs) on glacier surfaces are important biodiversity hotspots and biogeochemical factories within terrestrial cryosphere. In this study, we collected cryoconite from the ablation zone of the Forni Glacier (Central Italian Alps) over the whole ablation season. We aimed to describe spatial and temporal patterns in: (i) biomass and community structure of photoautotrophs (cyanobacteria, diatoms, and eukaryotic green algae) and invertebrates; (ii) carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic composition of invertebrates and their potential food; and (iii) the organic matter content and general elemental composition of cryoconite. Structure and biomass of cryoconite biota showed spatio-temporal changes over the season. Dominant cyanobacteria were Oscillatoriaceae and Leptolyngbyaceae, while dominant eukaryotic green algae were Mesotaeniaceae and Chlorellaceae. Eukaryotic green algae dominated in the upper part of the ablation zone, while a seasonal shift from algae- to cyanobacteria-dominated communities was observed in the lower part. Some taxa of photoautotrophs appeared only during specific sampling days. Dominant grazers were tardigrades (Cryobiotus klebelsbergi). The biomass of tardigrades in the upper part was significantly related to the biomass of eukaryotic green algae indicating that algal communities are likely controlled by grazing. The δ13C of tardigrades followed fluctuations of δ13C in organic matter. We did not observe spatial and temporal changes in the general elemental composition of cryoconite. Thus, changes in community structure and biomass are likely dependent on the interplay between phenology, stochastic events (e.g. rainfall), top-down, or bottom-up controls. Our study shows that understanding the ecology of biota in cryoconite holes requires a spatially explicit and seasonal approach.

Tereza Novotná Jaroměřská et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-198', Łukasz Kaczmarek, 02 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Krzysztof Zawierucha, 24 Nov 2022
  • CC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-198', Łukasz Kaczmarek, 02 Nov 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on CC2', Krzysztof Zawierucha, 24 Nov 2022
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-198', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Nov 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC1', Krzysztof Zawierucha, 24 Nov 2022
  • CC3: 'Comment on bg-2022-198', Ewa Poniecka, 03 Jan 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on CC3', Krzysztof Zawierucha, 13 Jan 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-198', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Mar 2023
    • AC5: 'Reply on RC2', Krzysztof Zawierucha, 25 Mar 2023

Tereza Novotná Jaroměřská et al.

Tereza Novotná Jaroměřská et al.


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Short summary
Changes in the composition and biomass of photoautotrophs and consumers on glacier indicated phenological or ecological controls over their communities. We demonstrated that the recognition of the community structure of cryoconite holes requires a broad-scale and seasonal approach since biological communities vary in time and space on the glacier surface.