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The status of Lewis Glacier of Mount Kenya and the threat to Novel microbial communities

Review Paper | May 1, 2018

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Josiah Ochieng Kuja, Huxley Mae Makonde, Anne Thairu Muigai, Agnes Omire, Hamadi Iddi Boga, Jun Uetake

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Int. J. Micro. Myco.7( 3), 6-13, May 2018


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The disappearance of African glaciers is of great concern. Most important is the status of Lewis glacier, the smallest glacier in Africa that is rapidly melting. Lewis glacier is a well-documented tropical glacier that experiences a rapid retreat establishing deglaciated foreland. The steep elevation and lack of accumulation layer for Lewis glacier is a possible factor to the rapid loss of its content. The greatest concern is the microbial communities that are lost through the flowing glacier material. The psychrophilic microbes of the glacier are lost in the supraglacial and subglacial to the glacier melting points. The glacier melt, however, creates a deglaciated terrestrial foreland that is recolonized by bacteria, fungi and vascular plants. Most of the foreland community structures are dynamic and differ from the glacier ecology due to various microbial activities including nutrient cycling and mineralization of the rocks. These geochemical process make the glacier foreland to be a chronological ecosystem with spatial biodiversity. The primary foreland is colonized by the bacteria, that prepare the habitat for the saprophytic and mycorrhizal associations. Most of the plants, especially the Senecio keniophytum form symbiotic association with some of the nitrogen fixing microorganisms. The ecological change from glacier ecosystem to foreland soil totally creates a new ecosystem with spatial biodiversity that need to be fully investigated for informative conclusions.


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The status of Lewis Glacier of Mount Kenya and the threat to Novel microbial communities

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