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Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 377–396 | Cite as

Succession of Antarctic benthic algae (Potter Cove, South Shetland Islands): structural patterns and glacial impact over a four-year period

  • Gabriela L. CampanaEmail author
  • Katharina Zacher
  • Dolores Deregibus
  • Fernando Roberto Momo
  • Christian Wiencke
  • María Liliana Quartino
Original Paper

Abstract

There is a general lack of information on the succession of marine benthic algae in Antarctica. We performed two colonization experiments in the upper subtidal (3 and 5 m depth) using artificial substrates in Potter Cove (South Shetland Islands): in the outer cove, an area mainly unaffected by sedimentation, and in the inner cove, in close proximity to a retreating glacier, with high sediment inflow particularly during the melting season. Seasonal and interannual changes in total, diatom and macroalgal cover, species composition, and ecological indexes were assessed over four years. Tiles were analysed in spring and summer in the laboratory and by year-round photographic monitoring. Irradiance (photosynthetically active radiation and ultraviolet radiation), salinity, and temperature were monitored on a monthly basis. Benthic algae dominated the assemblages, with macroalgae reaching ~70% cover after two years. There were site and temporal differences in the contribution of diatom mats (mainly pennate forms) and macroalgal cover. Diatom cover was higher at the glacier-influenced site, particularly at the early stages, and decreased significantly with time. Between years, macroalgal assemblages changed significantly in a site-specific manner. Assemblages mainly comprised annual and pseudoperennial species at both sites, with absence of adult large Desmarestiales. Although a year separated the establishment of the two experiments, there were convergence patterns in the changes of cover over time—that seemed to be controlled by competitive interactions—and in the patterns of species replacement. However, the inner cove site exhibited lower number of macroalgal taxa and a tendency to decreased diversity over time that could be related to higher level of stress and disturbance caused by glacial influence.

Keywords

Colonization Macroalgae and microalgae Benthic communities Global climate warming Glacier retreat UV radiation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the support of Carlini Station and Dallmann Laboratory crews. Field assistance of O. González and A. Ulrich was invaluable, as was the work of summer and overwinter expedition scientists: L. Rigacci, G. Aguirre, A. Fernández Ajó, A. Morettini, M. Garcia, D. López, and J. M. Piscicelli. Special thanks to Carlini Station Argentine Army and German diving crews, S. Doyle, G. Mercuri, E. Ruiz Barlett, H. Sala, M. Sierra and O. Zambrano. Images in Fig. 2 were kindly provided by Marcelo Mammana (upper panel) and Argentine Army diving crew (lower panel). The authors also wish to thank the valuable comments of three anonymous reviewers, who have helped to improve this manuscript. This work was performed within the framework of the scientific collaboration between Instituto Antártico Argentino/Dirección Nacional del Antártico and the Alfred-Wegener- Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. It was supported by Grants from DNA-IAA (PICTA 7/2008–2011), ANPCyT-DNA (PICTO 0116/2012–2015) and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in the framework of the priority programme “Antarctic Research with comparative investigations in Arctic ice areas” by a grant Za735/1-1. The present manuscript also presents an outcome of the international Research Network IMCONet funded by the Marie Curie Action IRSES IMCONet (FP7 IRSES, Action No. 318718).

Supplementary material

300_2017_2197_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (218 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 217 kb)
300_2017_2197_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (124 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 124 kb)
300_2017_2197_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (166 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 165 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela L. Campana
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Katharina Zacher
    • 3
  • Dolores Deregibus
    • 1
  • Fernando Roberto Momo
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Christian Wiencke
    • 3
  • María Liliana Quartino
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología CosteraInstituto Antártico Argentino, Dirección Nacional del AntárticoSan Martin, Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciencias BásicasUniversidad Nacional de LujánLuján, Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  4. 4.Instituto de CienciasUniversidad Nacional de General SarmientoLos PolvorinesArgentina
  5. 5.INEDESUniversidad Nacional de Luján - CONICETLujánArgentina
  6. 6.Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales B. RivadaviaBuenos AiresArgentina

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