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

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 17:28 authored by Bishop, J, Kopalova, K, Kohler, TJ, van de Vijver, B, Roberts, D, Andrew McMinnAndrew McMinn, Gibson, J

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 which Diatoms of the saline lakes of the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica by 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 of Luticola, Sabbea and Halamphora, 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.


Publication title

Diatom Research








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Taylor and Francis

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 The International Society for Diatom Research

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments not elsewhere classified

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