Chemical limnology in coastal East Antarctic lakes: monitoring
future climate change in centres of endemism and biodiversity
Polar lakes respond quickly to climate-induced environmental changes. We studied the chemical
limnological variability in 127 lakes and ponds from eight ice-free regions along the East Antarctic
coastline, and compared repeat specific conductance measurements from lakes in the Larsemann Hills and
Skarvsnes covering the periods 1987–2009 and 1997–2008, respectively. Specific conductance, the
concentration of the major ions, pH and the concentration of the major nutrients underlie the variation in
limnology between and within the regions. This limnological variability is probably related to differences in
the time of deglaciation, lake origin and evolution, geology and geomorphology of the lake basins and their
catchment areas, sub-regional climate patterns, the distance of the lakes and the lake districts to the ice
sheet and the Southern Ocean, and the presence of particular biota in the lakes and their catchment areas. In
regions where repeat surveys were available, inter-annual and inter-decadal variability in specific
conductance was relatively large and most pronounced in the non-dilute lakes with a low lake depth to
surface area ratio. We conclude that long-term specific conductance measurements in these lakes are
complementary to snow accumulation data from ice cores, inexpensive, easy to obtain, and should thus be
part of long-term limnological and biological monitoring programmes.
Authors: Verleyen, Elie, Hodgson, Dominic ORCID record for Dominic Hodgson, Gibson, John, Imura, Satoshi, Kaup, Enn, Kudoh, Sakake, De Wever, Aaike, Hoshino, Tamotsu, McMinn, Andrew, Obbels, Dagmar, Roberts, Donna, Roberts, Stephen ORCID record for Stephen Roberts, Sabbe, Kobe, Souffreau, Caroline, Tavernier, Ines, Van Nieuwenhuyze, Wim, Van Ranst, Eric, Vindevogel, Nicole, Vyverman, Wim
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