Diversity, ecology and biogeography of the freshwater diatom communities from Ulu Peninsula (James Ross Island, NE Antarctic Peninsula)
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Polar biology. - New York
, p. 933-948
University of Antwerp
The diversity, ecology and biogeography of diatoms in lakes, seepage areas and streams on the Ulu Peninsula, a large ice-free area in the northern part of James Ross Island (Weddell Sea), were studied. A diverse diatom flora of 123 taxa was observed, dominated by several Nitzschia taxa, Psammothidium papilio, Eolimna jamesrossensis, Fragilaria capucina and Fistulifera saprophila. The results from the similarity and diversity analysis suggest James Ross Island to be biogeographically positioned within the Maritime Antarctic region, yet with some affinities with the flora of Continental Antarctica, as shown by the presence of Luticola gaussii and Achnanthes taylorensis. Based on our data, James Ross Island can thus be located close to the boundary of the two main Antarctic biogeographical regions. Diatom communities present in streams and seepage areas could be clearly distinguished from those in lakes, the latter being much more species rich. Based on the multivariate analysis, conductivity and nutrients were selected as the two main environmental factors determining the diatom composition in the Ulu Peninsula lakes. The revised taxonomy of the Antarctic diatom flora induced the construction of a transfer function for water conductivity in the studied lakes that can be applied in further palaeoecological studies.