Distribution of Siliceous-Walled Algae in Taylor Valley, Antarctica Lakes

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TitleDistribution of Siliceous-Walled Algae in Taylor Valley, Antarctica Lakes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWarnock, JP, Doran, PT
JournalInternational Journal of Geosciences
Pagination688 - 699
Date Published2013

The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are a unique environment characterized by extreme lows in temperature and precipitation, which supports a low diversity microbial and multicellular fauna and flora. Terrestrial biomass is largely limited to soil microbes and mosses, while perennially ice-covered lakes host aerobic and anaerobic microbial commu- nities, algae, and a low diversity eukaryotic fauna. This study provides a scanning electron microscope survey of the distribution of siliceous-walled algae in the water columns and surface sediments of four Taylor Valley lakes. No pat- terns of distribution of algae, chrysophyte cysts and diatoms, are detected, suggesting that cores taken from perennially ice-covered lakes contain basin-wide records, rather than records specific to the lake depth or other lake-specific criteria. Since Taylor Valley lakes became perennially ice-covered, shifts in diatom assemblages in cores are more likely to re- cord changes to sediment and microfossil transport, e.g. the dominance of eolian vs. stream input, rather than other ecological conditions. Basin-wide records are episodically overprinted by lake-specific events, as demonstrated by a marked increase of the stream diatom genus Hantzschia during a period of increased stream flow into East Lake Bon- ney