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Spatial and temporal variations in moss-inhabiting summer diatom communities from Potter Peninsula (King George Island, Antarctica)


This work represents the first analysis of the spatial and temporal variations in the diversity and community structure of diatoms associated with mosses, either dry or wet, sampled during the summer season from the littoral zone of three ponds in Potter Peninsula (King George Island, South Shetland Islands). It also seeks to explore the effect moisture content in the mosses can have on the structure of the diatom assemblages. The ponds approximately had the same number of species, and differences were found between the dry and wet sampling points. The same 4 species were predominant in the three ponds (Nitzschia alpina, N. perminuta, Staurosira oldenburgiana, and Pinnularia subantarctica var. elongata), but not in the same proportions. The first three species differed from those which were found to be dominant in other basins covered by mosses in southern South America and in the sub-Antarctic region. The latter, P. subantarctica var. elongata, had only been found to be abundant in a moss sample from another South Shetland Island. The diatom assemblages were found to be more strongly related to habitat traits (e.g. distance to the sea, ponds’ areas, and the vegetation’s moisture levels) than to the physical–chemical variables measured in the water.

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We thank Instituto Antártico Argentino (DNA) and Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) for providing facilities for this study, and the Jubany Base’s staffs for their logistic support. We also wish to thank Lic. R. Lombardo for his assistance in the statistical treatments of data and Prof. M. Brusa-Topham for her linguistic assistance. Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the reviewers for their invaluable suggestions which helped us to improve our work. The present study was funded by CONICET (PIP 5024).

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Correspondence to Alicia Vinocur.

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Vinocur, A., Maidana, N.I. Spatial and temporal variations in moss-inhabiting summer diatom communities from Potter Peninsula (King George Island, Antarctica). Polar Biol 33, 443–455 (2010).

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  • Diatoms
  • Mosses
  • Limnology
  • Potter Peninsula
  • Maritime Antarctica