Antarctic ice-free areas contain lakes and ponds that have interesting limnological features and are of wide global significance as early warning indicators of climatic and environmental change. However, most linmological and paleolimnological studies in continental Antarctica are limited to certain regions. There are several ice-free areas in Victoria Land that have not yet been studied well. There is therefore a need to extend limnological studies in space and time to understand how different geological and climatic features affect the composition and biological activity of freshwater communities. With the aim of contributing to a better limnological characterization of Victoria Land, this paper reports data on sedimentary pigments (used to identify the main algal taxa) obtained through a methodology that is more sensitive and selective than that of previous studies. Analyses were extended to 48 water bodies in ice-free areas with differing lithology, latitude, and altitude, and with different morphometry and physical, chemical, and biological characteristics in order to identify environmental factors affecting the distribution and composition of freshwater autotrophic communities. A wider knowledge of lakes in a limnologically important region of Antarctica was obtained. Cyanophyta was found to be the most important algal group, followed by Chlorophyta and Bacillariophyta, whereas latitude and altitude are the main factors affecting pigment distribution.
- GEOCHEMICAL PROCESSES
- ALGAL MATS