Advertisement

Nutrient Cycling in Relation to Biological Productivity in Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems

  • R. I. Lewis Smith

Summary

Many terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their component ecological units in the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic have been characterized in terms of single sets of chemical data. The biota and their growth, production and life cycles are often then related directly to the nutrient status of the system. However, such extensive studies provide no indication of the nutrient dynamics of the system. At only a few sites has intensive research involving frequent sampling and analysis on a seasonal or year-round basis been undertaken, mainly within the past 10–15 yr. Major advances have been made in recent years in investigating and understanding the processes involved in biogeochemical cycling, particularly of the major elements responsible for growth and production. Nutrient pathways through mineral and organic substrata, and contributions by precipitation, seaspray, fauna, etc., are gradually being quantified. The herbivore cycle in these relatively simple ecosystems is almost absent in terrestrial environments and much reduced in freshwater environments compared with corresponding ecosystems in other biomes. Food chains are short and virtually cease at the invertebrate herbivore level. Consequently, the decomposer cycle assumes the dominant role in the biological cycling of nutrients. The seasonal activity of critical groups of micro-organisms in relation to nutrient uptake and release is being studied experimentally both in the field and in the laboratory. The present state of this rapidly expanding area of research in the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic is discussed, highlighting some of the more important findings. The need to develop more intensive long-term research programmes integrating geological, pedological, hydrological, micro-climatological and biological studies at selected ecologically important sites is emphasized. These regions offer ideal simple environments in which to test fundamental hypotheses concerning the functioning of ecosystems. The complex processes involved in nutrient cycling and their influence on the productivity of the associated biota may be more easily investigated in these south polar biomes than in most others.

Keywords

Oligotrophic Lake Tundra Ecosystem Mesotrophic Lake Antarctic Lake South Orkney Island 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allen SE, Northover MJ (1967) Soil types and nutrients on Signy Island. In: Smith JE (organizer) A discussion on the Antarctic terrestrial ecosystem. Philos Trans R Soc, Ser B 252: 179–185Google Scholar
  2. Allen SE; Grimshaw HM; Holdgate MW (1967) Factors affecting the availability of plant nutrients on an Antarctic island. J Ecol 55: 381–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allnutt FCT, Parker BC, Seaburg KG, Simmons GM (1981) In situ nitrogen (C2 H2) fixation in lakes of southern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Hydrobiol Bull 15: 99–109Google Scholar
  4. Bardin VI, Leflat ON (1965) Chemistry of waters in the Schirmacher ponds. Sov Antarct Exp Info Bull 5: 361–363Google Scholar
  5. Bliss LC (1977) Truelove Lowland, Devon Island, Canada: a high Arctic ecosystem. University of Alberta Press, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowra GT, Holdgate MW, Tilbrook Pi (1966) Biological investigations in Tottanfjella and central Heimefrontfjella. Bull Br Antarct Sury 9: 62–70Google Scholar
  7. Broady PA (1979) The Signy Island terrestrial reference sites: IX. The ecology of the algae of site 2- a moss carpet. Bull Br Antarct Sun’ 47: 13–29Google Scholar
  8. Brocas J, Delwiche R (1963) Cl, K, and Na concentrations in Antarctic snow and ice. J Geophys Res 68: 3999–4000Google Scholar
  9. Brown J, Miller PC, Tieszen LL, Bunnell FL (1980) An Arctic ecosystem: The coastal tundra at Barrow, Alaska. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross Stroudsburg, PennsylvaniaGoogle Scholar
  10. Burton HR (1981) Chemistry, physics and evolution of Antarctic saline lakes — a review. Hydrobiol 82: 339–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cartwright K, Harris KJH (1981) Hydrogeology of the Dry Valleys region, Antarctica. In: McGinnis LD (ed) Dry Valley Drilling Project. Antarctic Research Series 33: 134–214. American Geophysical Union, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Christie P, Nicolson TH (1983) Are mycorrhizas absent from the Antarctic Trans Br Mycol Soc 80: 557–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Claridge GGC, Campbell IB (1968) Soils of the Shackleton Glacier region, Queen Maud Range, Antarctica. NZ J Sci 11:171–218Google Scholar
  14. Croome RL (1973) Nitrogen fixation in the algal mats on Marion Island. S Mr J Antarct Res 3:64–67Google Scholar
  15. Dalenius P, Wilson O (1958) On the soil fauna of the Antarctic and of the sub-Antarctic Island. The Oribatidae ( Acari ). Ark Zool 11: 393–425Google Scholar
  16. Davey A (1983) Effects of abiotic factors on nitrogen fixation by bluegreen algae in Antarctica. Polar Biol 2: 95–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davis RC (1981) Structure and function of two Antarctic terrestrial moss communities. Ecol Monogr 51: 125–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dowding P, Chapin FS, Wielgolaski FE, Kilteather P (1981) Nutrients in tundra ecosystems. In: Bliss LC, Heal OW, Moore JJ (ed) Tundra ecosystems: a comparative analysis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 647–683Google Scholar
  19. Ellis-Evans JC (1981a) Freshwater microbiology in the Antarctic: I. Microbial numbers and activity in oligotrophic Moss Lake, Signy Island. Bull Br Antarct Sury 54: 85–104Google Scholar
  20. Ellis-Evans JC (1981b) Freshwater microbiology in the Antarctic: II. Microbial numbers and activity in nutrient-enriched Heywood Lake, Signy Island. Bull Br Antarct Sury 54: 105–121Google Scholar
  21. Ellis-Evans JC (1982) Seasonal microbial activity in Antarctic freshwater lake sediments. Polar Biol 1: 29–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ellis-Evans JC (1985a) Decomposition processes in maritime Antarctic lakes. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Ellis-Evans JC (1984b) Methane in maritime Antarctic freshwater lakes. Polar Biol 3: 63–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ellis-Evans JC (1985b) Interactions of bacterio-and phyto-plankton in nutrient cycling within eutrophic Heywood Lake, Signy Island. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, ppGoogle Scholar
  25. Ellis-Evans JC, Wynn-Williams DD (1985) The interaction of soil and lake micro-flora at Signy Island. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Evans AJ (1970) Some aspects of the ecology of a calanoid copepod, Pseudoboeckella brevicaudata Brady 1875, on a Sub-Antarctic island. Anare Sci Rep Ser B (II) Zool Publication No. 110:1 —100Google Scholar
  27. Friedmann EI, Kibler AP (1980) Nitrogen economy of endolothic microbial communities in hot and cold deserts. Microb Ecol 6: 95–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gallagher JB (1985) The influence of iron and manganese on nutrient cycling in shallow freshwater Antarctic lakes. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Grobbelaar JU (1974) Primary production in freshwater bodies of the sub-Antarctic island Marion. S Mr J Antarct Res 4: 40–45Google Scholar
  30. Grobbelaar JU (1975) The lentic and lotic freshwater types of Marion Island (sub-Antarctic): a limnological study. Ver Int Verein Limnol 19: 1442–1449Google Scholar
  31. Grobbelaar JU (1978a) Mechanisms controlling the composition of fresh waters on the sub-Antarctic island Marion. Arch Hydrobiol 83: 145–157Google Scholar
  32. Grobbelaar JU (1978b) The limnology of Marion Island; southern Indian Ocean. S Mr J Antarct Res 8: 113–118Google Scholar
  33. Grobbelaar JU (1978c) Factors limiting algal growth on the sub-Antarctic island Marion. Verh Int Verein Limnol 20: 1159–1164Google Scholar
  34. Hawes I (1983a) Nutrients and their effects on phytoplankton populations in lakes on Signy Island, Antarctica. Polar Biol 2: 115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hawes I (1983b) Turbulent mixing and its consequence for phytoplankton development in two ice covered lakes. Bull Br Antarct Sury 60: 69–82Google Scholar
  36. Hawes I (1985) Factors controlling phytoplankton populations in maritime Antarctic lakes. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. Herbert RA, Bell CR (1973) Nutrient cycling in fresh-water lakes on Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Bull Br Antarct Sury 37:15 —20Google Scholar
  38. Heywood RB (1968) Ecology of the fresh-water lakes of Signy Island, South Orkney Islands: II. Physical and chemical properties of the lakes. Bull Br Antarct Sury 18: 11–44Google Scholar
  39. Heywood RB (1972) Antarctic limnology: A review. Bull Br Antarct Sury 29: 34–65Google Scholar
  40. Heywood RB (1978) Maritime Antarctic lakes. Verh Int Verein Limnol 20: 1210–1215Google Scholar
  41. Heywood RB(1984) Antarctic inland waters In:Laws RM(ed)Antarctic ecology Academic,London1:179–344Google Scholar
  42. Heywood RB (to be publ.) Limnological studies in the Antarctic Peninsula region publication not yet knownGoogle Scholar
  43. Heywood RB, Dartnell HJG, Priddle J (1980) Characteristics and classification of the lakes of Signy Island, South Orkney Island, Antarctica. Freshwater Biol 1: 47–59Google Scholar
  44. Hobbie JE (1980) Limnology of tundra ponds, Barrow, Alaska. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross Inc, Stroudsburg, PennsylvaniaGoogle Scholar
  45. Holdgate MW, Allen SE, Chambers MJG (1967) A preliminary investigation of the soils of Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Bull Br Antarct Sury 12: 53–71Google Scholar
  46. Home Ai (1972) The ecology of nitrogen fixation on Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Bull Br Antarct Sury 27: 1–18Google Scholar
  47. Howell LW, Krutchkoff RG, Parker BC (1978) Development and use of a mathematical model for an Antarctic lake. Hydrobiol 60: 129–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Hurst JL, Pugh GJF, Walton DWH (to be publ.) The effects of freeze-thaw cycles and leaching on the loss of soluble carbohydrates from leaf material of two sub-Antarctic plants. Polar BiolGoogle Scholar
  49. Laird CN, Zeller EJ, Armstrong TP (1982) Solar activity and nitrate deposition in South Pole snow. Geophys. Res Lett 9: 1195–1198Google Scholar
  50. Lawson GJ (1985) Decomposition and nutrient cycling in Rostkovia magellanica from two contrasting bogs on South Georgia. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  51. Light JJ, Ellis-Evans JC, Priddle J (1981) Phytoplankton ecology in an Antarctic lake. Freshwater Biol 11: 11–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lindeboom RI (1979) Chemical and microbiological aspects of the nitrogen cycle on Marion Island (sub-Antarctic). PhD thesis, University of Groningen, 138 ppGoogle Scholar
  53. MacNamara EE (1972) Some limnological observations from Enderby Land, Antarctica. Limnol Oceanogr 15: 768–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Murayama H (1977) General characteristics of the Antarctic lakes near Syowa Station. Antarct Rec 58: 43–62Google Scholar
  55. Myrcha A, Petri SJ, Tatur A (1985) The role of pygoscelid penguin rookeries in nutrient cycles at Admiralty Bay, King George Island. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarct nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  56. Northover MJ,Allen SE (1967) Seasonal availability of chemical nutrients on Signy Island. In: Smith JE (organizer) A discussion on the Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems. Philos Trans R Soc, Ser B 252:187–189Google Scholar
  57. Northover MJ, Grimshaw HM (1967) Some seasonal trends in nutrient content of the soils of Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. Bull Br Antarct Sury 14: 83–88Google Scholar
  58. Parker BC, Whitehurst JT, Hoehn RC (1974) Observations of in situ concentrations and production of organic matter in an Antarctic meromectic lake. V J Sci 25: 136–140Google Scholar
  59. Parker BC, Zeller EJ, Heiskell LE, Thomson WJ (1978) Non-biogenic fixed nitrogen in Antarctica and some ecological implications. Nature (Lond) 271: 651–652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Parker BC, Boyer S, Allnutt FCT, Seaburg KG; Wharton RA, Simmons GM (1982a) Soils from the Pensacola Mountains, Anarctica: physical chemical and biological characteristics. Soil Biol Biochem 14: 266–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Parker BC, Simmons GM, Wharton RA, Seaburg KG, Love FG (1982b) Removal of organic and inorganic matter from Antarctic lakes by aerial escape of blue-green algal mats. J Phycol 18: 72–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pratt RM, Smith RI Lewis (1982) Seasonal trends in chemical composition of reindeer forage plants on South Georgia. Polar Biol 1: 13–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Priddle J, Heywood RB (1980) Evolution of Antarctic lake ecosystems. Biol J Linn Soc 14: 51–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Samsel GL, Parker BC (1971) Comparisons of two Antarctic lakes with different trophic states. V J Sci 22: 177–182Google Scholar
  65. Samsel GL, Parker BC (1972) Nutrient factors limiting primary productivity in simulated and field Antarctic microecòsystems. V J Sci 23: 64–71Google Scholar
  66. SASCAR (1981) South African Antarctic Biological Research Programme: Aims, programme and organization. S Afr Nat Sci Progs Rep: 51 ppGoogle Scholar
  67. Siple PA (1938) The second Byrd Antarctic Expedition-Botany. 1. Ecology and geographical distribution. Ann Mo Bot Gdn: 467 —514Google Scholar
  68. Smith RIL (1978) Summer and winter concentrations of sodium, potassium and calcium in some maritime Antarctic cryptogams. J Ecol 66: 891–909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Smith RIL (1982) Growth and production in South Georgia bryophytes. CNFRA 51: 229–239Google Scholar
  70. Smith RIL, Stephenson C (1975) Preliminary growth studies on Festuca contracta T. Kirk and Deschampsia antarctica Desv. on South Georgia. Bull Br Antarct Sury 4142: 59–79Google Scholar
  71. Smith VR (1976a) Standing crop and nutrient status of Marion Island (sub-Antarctic) vegetation. J S Afr Bot 42: 231–263Google Scholar
  72. Smith VR (1976b) The effect of burrowing species of Procellariidae on the nutrient status of inland tussock grasslands on Marion Island. J S Afr Bot 42: 265–272Google Scholar
  73. Smith VR (1977) A qualitative description of energy flow and nutrient cycling in the Marion Island terrestrial ecosystem. Pol Rec 18: 361–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Smith VR (1978a) Soil chemistry of Marion Island (Subantarctic). S Afr J Sci 74: 174–175Google Scholar
  75. Smith VR (1978b) Plant ecology of Marion Island: a review. S Afr J Antarct Res 8: 21–30Google Scholar
  76. Smith VR (1978c) Animal-plant-soil nutrient relationships on Marion Island (Subantarctic). Oecologia (Berl) 41: 123–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Smith VR (to be publ.) Seasonal dynamics of phytomass and chemical composition in Marion Island (sub-Antarctic) vegetation. III. Nutrient dynamics in mire-grassland communities. Polar BiolGoogle Scholar
  78. Smith VR, Ashton PJ (1981) Bryophyte-cyanobacteria associations on sub-Antarctic Marion Island: are they important in nitrogen fixation? S Afr J Antarct Res 1011: 24–26Google Scholar
  79. Smith VR, Russell S (1982) Acetylene reduction by bryophytecyanobacteria associations on a Subantarctic island. Polar Biol 1: 153–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Smith VR, Steyn MG (1982) Soil microbial counts in relation to site characteristics at a Subantarctic island. Microb Ecol 8: 253–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Steyn MG, Smith VR (1981) Microbial populations in Marion Island soils. S Mr J Antarct Res 1011: 14–18Google Scholar
  82. Sugawara K, Torii T (1959) Chemical composition of the waters of some ponds on East Ongul Island, Antarctica. Antarct Res 7:53 —55Google Scholar
  83. Tieszen LL (1978) Vegetation and production ecology of an Alaskan Arctic tundra. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Tyler PA (1972) Reconnaissance limnology of sub-Antarctic islands I. Chemistry of lake waters from Macquarie Island and the Ïles Kerguelen. Int Rev Gesamten Hydrobiol 57: 579–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Walton DWH (1976) Dry matter production in Acaena (Rosaceae) on a subantarctic island. J Ecol 64: 399–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Walton DWH (1980) An annotated bibiography of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic pedology and periglacial processes. Br Antarct Sury Data 5: 1–75Google Scholar
  87. Walton DWH (1982) The Signy Island terrestrial reference sites: XV. Micro-climate monitoring. Bull Br Antarct Sury 55: 111–126Google Scholar
  88. Walton DWH (1985a) Cellulose decomposition and its relationship to nutrient cycling at South Georgia. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  89. Walton DWH (1985b) A preliminary study of the action of crustose lichens on rock surfaces in Antarctica. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR; Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  90. Walton DWH, Greene DM, Callaghan TV (1975) An assessment of primary production in a sub-Antarctic grassland on South Georgia. Bull Br Antarct Sury 4142: 151–160Google Scholar
  91. Walton DWH, Smith RIL (1980) Chemical composition of South Georgian vegetation. Bull Br Antarct Sury 49: 117–135Google Scholar
  92. Weand BL, Hoehn RC, Parker BC (1977) Nutrient fluxes in Lake Bonney-a meromictic Antarctic lake. Arch Hydrobiol 80: 519–530Google Scholar
  93. Wilson AT, House DA (1965) Fixation of nitrogen by aurora and its contribution to the nitrogen balance of the earth. Nature (Lond) 205: 793–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wodehouse EB, Parker BC (1981) Atmospheric ammonia nitrogen: a potential source of nitrogen eutrophication of freshwater Antarctic ecosystems. In: Parker BC (ed) Terrestrial Biology III. Antarctic Research Series 30: 155–167. American Geophysical Union, Washington DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Wright SW, Burton HR (1981) The biology of Antarctic saline lakes. Hydrobiol 82: 319–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Wynn-Williams DD (1980) Seasonal fluctuations in microbial activity in Antarctic moss peat. Biol J Linn Soc 14: 11–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Wynn-Williams DD (1982) Simulation of seasonal changes in microbial activity of maritime Antarctic peat. Soil Biol Biochem 14: 1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Wynn-Williams DD (1985) Comparative micro-biology of moss-peat decomposition on the Scotia arc and Antarctic Peninsula. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  99. Yarrington MR, Wynn-Williams DD (1985) Methanogenesis and the anaerobic micro-biology of a wet moss community at Signy Island. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs (Proceedings of the 4th SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  100. Zeller EJ, Parker BC (1981) Nitrate ion in Antarctic firn as a marker for solar activity. Geophys Res Lett 8: 895–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. I. Lewis Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic SurveyNERCCambridgeEngland

Personalised recommendations