Polar Biology

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 1401–1411 | Cite as

Comparative analysis of Deschampsia antarctica Desv. population adaptability in the natural environment of the Admiralty Bay region (King George Island, maritime Antarctic)

  • Ivan ParnikozaEmail author
  • Natalia Miryuta
  • Iryna Ozheredova
  • Iryna Kozeretska
  • Jerzy Smykla
  • Victor Kunakh
  • Peter Convey
Original Paper


Plants inhabiting extreme environments may possess features allowing them to tolerate sudden abrupt changes in their environment, a phenomenon often known as ‘adaptability.’ However, ability or success in developing adaptability varies among plant populations. Adaptability can be quantified by measuring variation in the response to the same environmental challenges between plant populations. In this study, we evaluate the adaptability of the iconic Antarctic plant, Deschampsia antarctica, based on traits reflecting three levels of organization: the population level (S, D. antarctica land cover), individual level (Ph, biometrics), and cell level (relative DNA content, rcDNA, in cells of the leaf parenchyma). We sampled a total of six D. antarctica populations in the Admiralty Bay region, King George Island (South Shetland Islands, maritime Antarctic), during the austral summer of 2005–2006, and analyzed pairwise interrelations between various indices reflecting plant population adaptability. The results of these pairwise comparisons were then used to estimate a pooled measure of each population’s adaptability, designated as united latent quality indicator (ULQI). Our results demonstrated that the responses of individual adaptability indices were seldom synchronized, although one population from the central part of the Point Thomas oasis did show some degree of synchronicity. This population also demonstrated the highest ULQI, consistent with the relatively favorable microenvironmental conditions at this location. Two other populations located closer to the shoreline also demonstrated detectable synchronicity and moderate levels of ULQI, while the remaining populations revealed no synchronized responses and negative ULQI values. As the ULQI value obtained will be strongly influenced by the conditions experienced by any given population during a particular season, evaluation of population dynamics requires annual monitoring over multiple seasons.


Antarctic hairgrass Land cover Biometrics Relative DNA content United latent quality indicator 



We express our gratitude to the National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ministry of the Education of Ukraine and Department of Antarctic Biology of Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics Polish Academy of Science for assistance in this research. This study was carried out under a contract between the National Antarctic Scientific Center of the Ministry of Science and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics (NAS of Ukraine), # H/3-2011 ‘Development of a Bioindicator System of Climate Change in Coastal Antarctica Based on the Dynamics of Terrestrial Plant Cenoses’ (2011–2012). This work was also supported by the agreement on scientific cooperation between the Polish Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine within the project ‘Adaptive strategy of mutual survival of organisms in extreme environmental conditions’ (2015–2017), and by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education within the program ‘Supporting International Mobility of Scientists’ and Grant No. NN305376438. We also thank Dr. S. Rakusa-Suszczewski for organizing this expedition, Dr. A. Rozhok for helping with manuscript preparation, and anonymous referees for their constructive input. P. Convey is supported by NERC core funding to the British Antarctic Survey’s Ecosystems Program. This paper also contributes to the SCAR AnT-ERA program.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivan Parnikoza
    • 1
    Email author
  • Natalia Miryuta
    • 1
  • Iryna Ozheredova
    • 2
  • Iryna Kozeretska
    • 2
  • Jerzy Smykla
    • 3
    • 5
  • Victor Kunakh
    • 1
  • Peter Convey
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular Biology and GeneticsNational Academy of Sciences of UkraineKievUkraine
  2. 2.Taras Shevchenko National University of KyivKievUkraine
  3. 3.Department of BiodiversityInstitute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland
  4. 4.British Antarctic Survey, NERCCambridgeUK
  5. 5.Department of Biology and Marine BiologyUniversity of North Carolina, WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA

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