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A re-investigation of lake sediment diatoms from the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica, using an updated, fine-grained taxonomy

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  • Jordan Bishop
  • Katerina Kopalova
  • Tyler J. Kohler
  • Bart Van de Vijver
  • Donna Roberts
  • Andrew Mcminn
  • John Gibson
The non-marine diatom flora of the Antarctic continent is currently being revised as recent work within the Maritime and Sub-Antarctic regions has unveiled a number of new endemic species. The under reporting of endemic species is partially due to the historic `force-fitting' of Antarctic species into European names. Within East Antarctica, the Vestfold Hills are an extensively studied area known for their diversity of lakes spanning a salinity gradient, for whichDiatoms of the saline lakes of the Vestfold Hills, Antarcticaby Roberts McMinn (1999) has a primary identification resource for over two decades. To determine if improved taxonomic resolution alters the ecological interpretation of these lakes, 30 prepared lake sediment samples first examined by Roberts McMinn (1999) were re-analysed using an updated, fine-grained taxonomic approach. Our analyses confirmed the role of salinity and alkalinity in structuring Vestfold Hills diatom communities. Thus, the increased taxonomic resolution did not change the original ecological interpretation. However, the revised flora of the Vestfold Hills features 37 species endemic to the Antarctic Region, including members ofLuticola, SabbeaandHalamphora, among others. In total, 183 taxa across 38 genera were observed, in contrast to the 67 taxa reported in the original work. The revised flora, including a larger proportion of endemic species, may improve our understanding of the diatom community in general and has wider implications for both conservation and biodiversity estimates of Antarctica. More widely applied, these data can be incorporated into larger studies of Antarctic microbial biogeography and biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiatom Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)231-254
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2-Jul-2020
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