Using visible reflectance spectroscopy to reconstruct historical changes in chlorophyll a concentration in East Antarctic ponds

  • Qianqian Chen
  • Xiaodong Liu University of Science and Technology of China
  • Yaguang Nie
  • Liguang Sun
Keywords: Reflectance spectroscopy, ornithogenic sediments, chlorophyll a, Antarctic ponds, primary productivity, VRS


The visible reflectance spectroscopy (VRS) and chlorophyll a concentration were determined in three sediment profiles collected from East Antarctica to investigate the potential application of VRS in reconstructing historical changes in Antarctic lake primary productivity. The results showed that the appearance of a trough at 650–700 nm is an important marker for chlorophyll a concentration and can therefore be used to distinguish the sedimentary organic matter source from guano and algae. The measured chlorophyll a content had significant positive correlations with the trough area between 650 and 700 nm, and no distinct trough was found in the sediments with organic matter completely derived from guano. Modelling results showed that the spectra spectrally inferred chlorophyll a content, and the measured data exhibit consistent trends with depth, showing that the dimensionless trough area can serve as an independent proxy for reconstructing historical fluctuations in the primary production of Antarctic ponds. The correlation of phosphorus (P) with measured and inferred chlorophyll a contents in ornithogenic sediments near penguin colonies indicates that the change in primary productivity in the Antarctic ponds investigated was closely related to the amount of guano input from these birds.

Keywords: Reflectance spectroscopy; ornithogenic sediments; chlorophyll a; Antarctic ponds; primary productivity; VRS.

(Published: 27 December 2013)

Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 19932,


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How to Cite
Chen, Q., Liu, X., Nie, Y., & Sun, L. (2013). Using visible reflectance spectroscopy to reconstruct historical changes in chlorophyll <em>a</em&gt; concentration in East Antarctic ponds. Polar Research, 32.
Research/review articles