Physiological Characteristics and Related Biochemical Parameters of Snow Algae from King George Island, Antarctica
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Red and green snow caused by snow algal blooms is common on glaciers and snowfields worldwide. Reddish and greenish snow samples containing algae were collected at the vicinity of penguin rockeries on King George Island (62°13′S, 58°47′W, near the King Sejong Station), Antarctica in February 2017 to investigate their physiology. Eight pigments and six fatty acids were detected from the samples. No difference in pigment and fatty acid (FA) composition was found between reddish and greenish snow samples. In contrast, spectral profiling and mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) were different between reddish and greenish snow. Particularly in greenish snow, a high absorbance between 450–600 nm was observed. The average MAA concentration was 316.0 μg g-1 in greenish snow, which was higher than that of reddish snow (278.2 μg g-1). The MAA to Particulate organic carbon (POC) ratio (mg (g C)-1) for reddish snow (6.2 mg (g C)-1) was higher than that of greenish snow (2.6 mg (g C)-1). These results suggest that reddish and greenish snow are considered to be the same species based on pigment and FA composition. Compared with photoprotective pigments, MAAs offer snow algae a more effective photoprotection strategy to promote tolerance of natural levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR).
Keywordsreddish snow greenish snow snow algae pigments fatty acids mycosporine-like amino acids King George Island Antarctica
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