Preliminary description of tardigrade species diversity and distribution pattern around coastal Syowa Station and inland Sør Rondane Mountains, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica

Abstract

Tardigrades are important members of the simple terrestrial ecosystems in the extreme environments in Antarctica. This study provides a baseline description of tardigrade species diversity and distribution pattern within the terrestrial and lake environments of the coastal regions around Syowa Station and the neighbouring inland Sør Rondane Mountains, Dronning Maud Land. We combined data obtained from new and previously described collections and updated data available in the existing literature. We recorded five tardigrade species, three of which (Echiniscus pseudowendti Dastych 1984, Hebesuncus ryani Dastych and Harris 1994, Pseudechiniscus sp.) have not previously been reported from the area, increasing the total recorded tardigrade diversity for this region of continental Antarctica to ten species. The results of our study indicate that tardigrades have been and are major components of the lake environment community in continental Antarctica, with Acutuncus antarcticus (Richters 1904) the most common and dominant species. Our data confirm that the tardigrade species diversity in the vicinity of Syowa Station is very low and suggest potential relationships between individual tardigrade species and terrestrial moss species and depth in freshwater ecosystems.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the JARE 49 biology members and JARE 53 meteorite members for the assistance in sample collections. Dr. Wataru Abe kindly provided instruction to MT on fixation and mounting tardigrades. Two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments and suggestions on the manuscript. This study was supported by The Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI) and grant-in-aid for Scientific Research No. 23247012 of SI from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Part of this study was conducted under a Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Fellowship 2012-13 to MT and held at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). PC is supported by core funding from NERC to the BAS ‘Ecosystems’ programme. This paper also contributes to the SCAR AntEco research programme.

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Correspondence to Megumu Tsujimoto.

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Tsujimoto, M., McInnes, S.J., Convey, P. et al. Preliminary description of tardigrade species diversity and distribution pattern around coastal Syowa Station and inland Sør Rondane Mountains, Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica. Polar Biol 37, 1361–1367 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-014-1516-8

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Keywords

  • Tardigrades
  • Antarctica
  • Species diversity
  • Distribution pattern
  • Freshwater lakes
  • Mosses