Standardized algal growth potential and/or algal primary production rates of maritime Antarctic stream waters (King George Island, South Shetlands)
In addition to the chemical analyses providing total nutrient content, standardized water trophic status bioassays are useful in the determination of available nutrients for primary producers. The aim of the study was to determine the standardized values of algal growth potential (AGP) and algal primary productivity rate (APPR) of maritime Antarctic stream water using modified AGP/APPR protocols. The standardized values of AGP and the APPR of oligotrophic and mesotrophic water samples from snow-melt streams were measured, and possible nutrient limitation and heavy metal inhibition were evaluated at 5°C and 25°C using polar and temperate strains of Stichococcus bacillaris, respectively. The water samples were enriched for the nutrient limitation tests with 1000 mμ l-1 NO3- -N, 50 μg l-1 PO43- -P, and a mixture of 1000 μg l-1 NO3- -N + 50 μg l-1 PO43- -P, and for the heavy metal inhibition tests with 1000 mg l-1 Na2-ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). The AGP of oligotrophic samples was significantly lower than that of the mesotrophic ones at both temperatures. In addition, AGP was significantly higher at 5°C than at 25°C. Oligotrophic samples were identified as being nitrogen limited, while no nutrient limitation was observed in the mesotrophic samples. No statistically significant heavy metal inhibition was observed at either temperature. The positive correlation of AGP and water nutrient content indicates that the method used accurately and comprehensively monitors the changes in biological availability of mineral nutrients and can provide a standardized reference point for similar exploration of freshwater ecosystems across both polar regions.
Keywords: Maritime Antarctic; microalgae; nutrient limitations; snow-melt stream water
(Published: 3 October 2013)
Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 11191, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.11191
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.