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Abstract

Epiglacial and supraglacial lakes are characteristic lake types in Antarctica, and regardless of their mostly seasonal existence and ultraoligotrophy, some lakes have a relatively diverse microbial community. The results of water chemistry and phytoplankton, based on basic limnological methods, from five epiglacial and two supraglacial seasonal lakes are presented from western Dronning Maud Land, an area where only physical studies have been previously carried out. Electric conductivity varied mostly between 0.1 and 10 mS m−1 (25 °C), phosphorus concentration was <5 mg m−3, and nitrogen concentration was <300 mg m−3 except in some shore areas, and water pH ranged from 6 to 11. Low phytoplankton biomasses (in most cases <10 mg m−3) supported the ultraoligotrophic status of the lakes. Phytoplankton was found from both types of lakes, but less was found from supraglacial lakes. The charophyte Mesotaenium cf. berggrenii dominated the supraglacial lakes, while cyanoprokaryotes such as Gloeocapsopsis cf. magma, Planktothrix prolifica/rubescens, Nostoc cf. sphaericum, Cyanothece sp. and Phormidium sp. dominated the biomass in some epiglacial lakes. Chrysophytes (e.g. Pseudopedinella-type flagellates) were observed in both types of lakes, and they were occasionally dominant. The green alga Botryococcus braunii, some diatoms (Cyclotella sp., Diatoma tenuis, Luticola muticopsis), and non-planktonic microalgal colonies visible to the eye (incl. the cyanoprokaryote Nostoc commune) were also found. Signs of a living ecosystem with a food web were observed in one epiglacial lake, but not elsewhere, which indicates extreme circumstances in the Antarctic seasonal lakes. Altogether, only some 25 taxa were discovered.

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Keskitalo, J., Leppäranta, M., & Arvola, L. (2013). First records of primary producers of epiglacial and supraglacial lakes in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Polar Biology, 36(10), 1441–1450. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-013-1362-0

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