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Limnological features of the saline lakes of the Bunger Hills (Wilkes Land, Antarctica)

  • E. Kaup (a1), D. Haendel (a2) and R. Vaikmäe (a3)

Twelve saline lakes 5-35m above sea level in Bunger Hills (66°10'S, 101°00'E) were investigated from January to April in 1987-89. Some lakes may be relict and all were subject to wind-borne marine salts with present salinities between 3.4-79.0°/‰ and δ18O values mostly between -10 to -14%. Temperatures up to 17.7°C were measured at the bottom of Lake Polest where a sharp thermohalocline was observed during the period of open water. Mg2+ dominated over Ca2+ in all the lakes. Phosphates concentration was 3-10 μgP I-1 and total phosphorus 8-16 μgP I-1. The concentrations of nitrates and nitrites were often equal, ranging between 1-4 μgN I-1. Dissolved O2 was usually near saturation levels but peaked at more than 230% of saturation in the hypolimnion of Lake Polest as a result of temperature-enhanced photosynthesis with an assimilation rate of 23.9 mgC (mg Chl a)-1h-1. The values for chlorophyll a were 0.26-1.93 mg m-3 and for primary production 0.013-0.171 gCm-3d-1, the latter being an order of magnitude higher than in the fresh water lakes of the Bunger Hills.

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Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
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