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The ecology of photosynthetic bacteria in Burton Lake, Vestfold Hills, Antarctica

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-25, 23:13 authored by Burke, C, Burton, HR
Photosynthetic bacteria in Burton Lake, a seasonally tidal, meromictic lake of maximum depth 18 m, located in the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica, were studied throughout 1983. The dominant species were Chlorobium vibrioforme and Chlorobium limicola (up to 5.4 X 10 to the power of 6 cells ml to power of ml minus 1) and minor species were Thiocapsa roseopersicina (< 1.25 X 10 to the power of 5 cells ml to the power minus 1) and Rhodopseudomonas palustris (< 100 cells ml minus 1). The Chlorobium spp. and T. roseopersicina were found throughout the anoxic water, which ranged in temperature from -0.5 C to -2.2 C, but did not form discrete layers at the O2 and H2S interface. The growth zone, however, of the Chlorobium spp. was delineated by the presence of light and H2S and was restricted to less than 3 m below the O2 and H2S interface. R. palustris was found in oxic and anoxic water. Available light, which varied from 0 to 4.9 ‚àövᬨ¬µE m to the power of minus 2 s to the power of minus 1 at the O2 to H2S interface, was considered to be the major environmental factor controlling growth of the bacterial phototrophs. Growth was initiated in spring in low light levels (<1 ‚àövᬨ¬µE m to the power of minus 2 s to the power of minus 1) following 3 months of darkness during winter. It is concluded that the dominance of the Chlorobium spp. was a result of their more efficient maintenance metabolism in winter and of their greater efficiency in utilizing low intensity light.


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