Annual primary productivity of an antarctic continental lake: Phytoplankton and benthic algal mat production strategies

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Abstract

Primary production in Watts Lake, Vestfold Hills, Antarctica (68°36′S, 78°13′E), was measured from March 1981 to February 1982. Phytoplankton production peaked in autumn and spring, with a September maximum (340 m m–2 d–1), then declined in summer and was not detectable in winter. Benthic algal production peaked in summer at 74 mgC m–2 d–1. Production strategies differed, with the more efficient phytoplankton adapted to growth at low light, while benthic production increased with increasing light in summer. Estimation of annual production was 10.1 gC m–2 and 5.5 gC m–2 for the phytoplankton and benthos respectively.