Factors regulating summer phytoplankton in a highly eutrophic Antarctic lake
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- Mataloni, G., Tesolín, G., Sacullo, F. et al. Hydrobiologia (2000) 432: 65. doi:10.1023/A:1004045219437
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Lakes from Maritime Antarctica are regarded as systems generally inhabited by metazoan plankton capable of imposing a top-down control on the phytoplankton during short periods, while lakes from Continental Antarctica lacking these communities would be typically controlled by scarcity of nutrients, following a bottom-up model. Otero Lake is a highly eutrophic small lake located on the NW of the Antarctic Peninsula, which has no metazoan plankton. During summer 1996, we studied the density, composition and vertical distribution of the phytoplankton community of this lake with respect to various abiotic variables, yet our results demonstrated neither light nor nutrient limitation of the phytoplankton biomass. Densities of heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNAN) and ciliates from three different size categories were also studied. Extremely low densities of HNAN (0–155 ind. ml−1) could be due to feeding competition by bacterivore nanociliates and/or predation by large ciliates. A summer bloom of the phytoflagellate Chlamydomonas aff. celerrima Pascher reached densities tenfold those of previous years (158.103 ind. ml−1), though apparently curtailed by a strong peak of large ciliates (107 ind. ml−1) which would heavily graze on PNAN (phototrophic nanoflagellates). Top-down control can thus occur in this lake during short periods of long hydrologic residence time.